Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of the fens of south Lincolnshire, being a description of the rivers Witham and Welland and their estuary, and an account of the reclamation, drainage, and enclosure of the fens adjacent thereto"

See other formats


Cornell THnivet8it\> 



Xtbrarip 

OF THE 

IFlew Wotk State College of Hgriculture 

Pi^^.5^.%,,, fcpt:|io 



Cornell University Library 
DA 670.F33W5 



A history of the fens of south Lincolnsh 




3 1924 014 023 893 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924014023893 



A 

History of the Fens 

— OF— 

South Lincolnshire, 

BEING A DESCRIPTION OF THE RIVERS WITHAM 

AND WELLAND AND THEIR ESTUARY, AND AN 

ACCOUNT OF THE RECLAMATION, DRAINAGE, AND 

ENCLOSURE OF THE FENS ADJACENT THERETO. 



BY 

W. H. WHEELER, M.Inst.C.E., 

AUTHOR OF 

" Tidal Rivers, their Hydraulics, Improvement and Navigation," and " The 
Drainage of Fens and Low Lands by gravitation and steam power." 



SECOND EDITION. GREATLY ENLARGED. 



BOSTON : 
J. M. Newcomb. 

LONDON : 
Simpkin, Marshall & Co. 



lire 



PREFACE. 

THE first edition of the <« History of the Fens of South Lincolnshi: 
was published in 1868. The fact that this has long been out of print, 
and that the publisher is frequently applied to for copies, appears to warrant the 
issue of a second edition. 

In the preface to the first edition it was stated, as a reason for its publica- 
tion, that the author, having had occasion to examine documents relating to the 
| outfall of the drainage of the Fens, had been induced by the interest of the 
subject to extend his researches into the various reports and papers which relate 
1 to the general history of the reclamation and drainage of this district, and had 
collected together sufficient facts and statistics to enable him to complete a 
short History of the Fens of this part of the County of Lincoln. 

During the six and twenty years that have elapsed since this was written, 
the author has had further opportunities of making himself acquainted with a 
large number of Acts of Parliament, Reports and other documents which have 
come into his possession or which are to be found in charge of the officers 
of the several drainage districts ; at the British Museum, the Record Office, 
the Library of the Gentlemen's Society at Spalding, and the Stock Library at 
Lincoln. These documents, scattered about in different places, are practically 
inaccessible to persons requiring information on the subjects to which they 
relate. Upwards of one hundred and sixty Acts have been passed relating to 
the drainage, reclamation and enclosure of this part of the Fenland. The 
greater part of these Acts are now out of print and difficult to procure. 

With the information obtained from, these sources, it has been possible to give 
a much more complete history of the early condition and reclamation of the 
Fenland than was contained in the first edition. In fact, the book has been 
entirely re-written, and now contains a record of events and statistics which, it 
is hoped, will render it useful as a work of reference to the officers and commis- 
sioners having control over the drainage works, and also to the inhabitants who 
find the funds for maintaining the same, and, as a source of information, to those 
interested in the Fenland. 



PREFACE. 

The first part of the book is devoted to the early history of the Fenland 
from the time of the Britons up to the reclamation carried out in the middle of 
the last, and the beginning of the present, century. In the subsequent chapters 
a history of each district is given separately, including an abstract of the Acts 
of Parliament under which the works have been carried out, the constitution of 
the Trusts, the rate of taxation and the cost of management. These chapters 
include matter relative to the Court of Sewers, with a description of its history 
and functions ; the enclosures and drainage system of the parishes in North 
and South Holland, including the South Holland Drainage and Embankment 
Districts ; to the river Witham and the six districts into which the level is 
divided ; to the Black Sluice and Holland Fen ; to the rivers Welland and Glen, 
with an account of Bicker Haven and Crowland Washes ; to Deeping Fen 
and Crowland ; to the Estuary and the proposed schemes of reclamation ; 
to Boston Harbour and the Witham Outfall. 

The Drainage system of the Fenland is described in a separate chapter and 
an account is given of the several kinds of pumping machinery in use, and the 
cost of construction and working. 

In the chapter on Agriculture the history of this industry is traced from 
the time of the Saxons ; the rent and value of land at different periods, both 
before and since the reclamation, the rate of wages and the price of produce at 
different times, the crops grown, and the tenures under which the land is held, 
are all fully dealt with. 

Roads, waterways, bridges, railways and means of transit are described, as 
also the various changes made in the management of the highways, turnpike 
roads and main roads, with the cost of their management. 

The concluding chapters deal with geology, water supply, natural 
products, climate and health. 

In the Appendix will be found a list of the names of places, rivers, and 
principal drains, with the different ways of spelling the same and their deriva- 
tion. The spelling of many of the names in old records varies frequently from 
that used in the present day, and in some cases the old names have become 
obsolete and difficult to trace. The author has endeavoured, as far as he was . 
able, to give a guide to these. The area and rateable value of each parish is 
also given and the changes that have been made in the Fen Allotments under 
the Divided Parishes Act. 

A glossary of words used in the Fenland ; the titles and dates of all the 
Acts of Parliament relating to the drainage, reclamation, navagation and roads ; 
a list of the books and reports relating to the Fenland ; an abstract of the 
verdict giving the names and situation of the public sewers in North Holland 
are also given. In South Holland it has not been the practice of the Court to 



PREFACE. 

have similar verdicts made, so that the position of these sewers is not given. The 
rainfall, and statistics as to floods, temperature, wind and tides, the levels of all 
the principal sills of the sluices and sea banks above Ordnance datum, and borings 
taken at various places, showing the strata, are also included. 

The illustrations comprise a general map of the Fenland ; and separate 
maps of each district, showing their past and present Drainage Systems. These 
maps have been prepared from those found in old reports and from the Ordnance 
Map, and, as far as practicable, are all reduced to the same scale. 

The author takes this occasion of thanking the many friends from whom 
he has derived assistance and who have allowed him the use of reports and 
other documents in their possession. He begs especially to acknowledge the 
valuable information as to the river Witham and the East and West Fens which 
he was enabled to obtain from several volumes of pamphlets, reports and papers, 
collected by Sir Joseph Banks and now in the library at Revesby Abbey, 
which were kindly placed at his disposal by the late Right Honorable Edward 
Stanhope. 

The author hopes that the time and trouble which he has devoted to 
collecting and recording the information contained in this book will be accepted 
by the reader as a set-off against its literary defects. 



CONTENTS. • 

Preface. 
Chapter 
i . Early history of the Fens. 

2. The Court of Sewers. 

3. The North Holland parishes. 

4. South Holland, including the South Holland Drainage District and the 

South Holland Embankment Trust. 

5. The River Witham. 

6. The Witham Drainage Districts. 

7. The Black Sluice. 

8. The Black Sluice Districts. 

g. The Welland and the Glen, Bicker Haven and Crowland Washes. 

10. Deeping Fen, Bourne South Fen and Thurlby Fen. 

11. The Estuary and proposed schemes of reclamation. 

12. Boston Harbour and the Witham Outfall. 

13. The Drainage system of the Fenland, with a description of the pumping 

machinery. 

14. Agriculture of the Fenland. Rent and value of land. Rate of wages. 

Value of produce. 

15. Waterways, roads, bridges, and railways. 

16. Geology and water supply. 

17. Natural history and products, climatology and health. 

APPENDIX. 

1. Names of places, with the area and rateable value of the parishes. 

2. Books and reports relating to the Fenland. 

3. Titles and dates of Acts of Parliament relating to the Fenland. 

4. Glossary of words used in the Fenland. 

5. Rainfall, floods, temperature, wind and tides. 



CONTENTS. 



6. Levels of the sills and sluices, sea banks, &c, &c, reduced to Ordnance 

datum. 

7. Borings, showing strata. 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 

1. Sketch map of the ancient Fenland. 

2. General map of the South Lincolnshire Fenland at the present time. 

3. Brands used for marking cattle in the Fens. 

4. South Holland. 

5. South Holland before the enclosure of the marshes. 

6. The Witham from Lincoln to Boston in 1762, before improvement. 

7. The First, Third and Sixth Districts of the river Witham. 

8. The East Fen in 1661, before the construction of the Adventurers' Drains. 

9. The Fourth District of the Witham and Skirbeck Hundred, including 

the East Holland towns and Boston Deeps. 

10. The Black Sluice Level and parishes in Kirton Hundred. 

11. Bicker Haven. 

12. Deeping Fen and Crowland Washes at the present time. 

13. Deeping Fen in 1645. 

14. Deeping Fen in 1763. 

15. Diagram, showing the geological strata and relative level of surface 

of land and sea level. 

16. Diagram, showing annual rainfall.' 



THE SOUTH LINCOLNSHIRE FENL 



Chaju:1. 




The- figures lot %c ghow 
the TuZyKb of the land 
above- -rrufntw fea, lereZ 
in. f net, or ordnance datum. 

Th& /haded, portions 
shxtn- &t» Tttat thus 34M8B 

Scale of >6W 

■ '\ 1 *\ ■*! ^ * 



CHAPTER I. 

Early History of the Fens. 

I"* HE Great Level of the Fens comprises a tract of land on the 
East Coast, extending southwards from the highlands in 
Lincolnshire, for a distance of about 60 miles, and occupying 
portions of six counties. It is only the history of the part in South 
Lincolnshire that is dealt with in this book, or the area that is 
bounded approximately on the north by the Steeping river and the 
catch water drains, and by Revesby, Tattershall, Kirkstead, 
Bardney and Lincoln ; on the west by the Car dyke, and on the 
south by Bourne, Market Deeping, Crowland and the old South 
Holland or Shire drain, to the Nene, and on the east and north by 
the river Nene and the coast of the Wash to Wainfleet. 

This tract comprises the lands adjacent to the Witham, known 
as the Six Witham Districts, including the East, West and Wild- 
more Fens ; the East Holland towns, or the parishes from 
Wainfleet to Boston, lying along the east coast of the Wash ; the 
parishes lying between the Witham and the Glen ; the Black Sluice 
Level, with Holland Fen ; Deeping Fen and the lands on the north 
of the Welland ; the South Holland District ; and the land along 
the coast from Fosdyke to the Nene. The Witham District, the 
Black Sluice Level, Deeping Fen, the South Holland Drainage 
District and some smaller districts are managed under special Acts 
of Parliament. The rest of the area remains under the jurisdiction 
of the Court of Sewers. 

The whole of the Holland division of Lincolnshire is in the 
Fenland, which also extends on the north of Sibsey, by an irregular 
line into the Lindsey division, and on the west of Swineshead into 
Kesteven. 

The area of the South Lincolnshire Fenland is about 363,043 
acres, of which 118,726 acres is in Lindsey and Kesteven. The 
greater part of the land, amounting to 277,795 acres, consists of rich 
alluvial deposit, the surface of which averages from i£ to 5^ feet 
below the level of high water in spring tides, and the remaining 
85,248 acres of fen or peat, the surface of which is from 6 i to 12$ 
feet below high-water level, the average being about 7J feet below. 
The area of lowland drained by steam power is 124,600 acres. The 



BOUNDARY OF 

THE LINCOLN- 
SHIRE FENLAND. 



LEVEL OF THE 
LAND. 



PHYSICAL 
CONDITION. 



ATTRACTIVE 
FEATURES OF 
THE FENLAND. 



towns and villages are situated entirely on the alluvial land, the 
level of the ground on which they are situated being the highest in 
the neighbourhood and varying from i \ to 3 feet below high water. 
The ground on which the churches stand is generally about the 
level of ordinary spring tides. Scattered about are plots of ground, 
formerly called islands, which are more elevated than the rest of the 
district, of which Stickney, Sibsey and Gedney are examples. The 
high ground in these places is above even the highest tides, as is 
also that in Boston, Spalding, Donington, Kirton, Holbeach, Fleet, 
Pinchbeck and Gosberton. 

The Fens have obtained a world-wide notoriety ; and a general, 
though very erroneous, impression prevails among those who do not 
know the county, that this part of Lincolnshire is a dull and dreary 
land, to be avoided by all except those whom necessity or. the calls of 
business compel to visit its unattractive scenery. But it will be found, 
on closer investigation, that the'Fenland has many attractive features, 
while the rich grazing and corn lands stand unrivalled for their 
productiveness, and are cultivated by inhabitants, whose condition, 
general intelligence, physique and health will bear very favourable 
comparison with those of any other part of Great Britain. An 
inspection of the tombstones in the village churchyards, or of the 
parish registers, will show that life is frequently prolonged to an 
unusual age, while a visit to one of the Fenland towns on a market 
day, or at a fair, will convince the visitor that more robust or healthier 
working men, or comelier damsels, are not to be met under similar 
circumstances in any other part of Great Britain. 

If the country lacks the interest that is derived from a variation 
of hill and dale, it is recompensed by other features. The air 
generally is clear and transparent ; a day's fog is very rare and the 
inhabitants enjoy " as sunny skies, as beautiful starlit nights and as 
magnificent cloudscapes as any people in England." The sunsets 
frequently are of surpassing grandeur and beauty. The heavy 
snowdrifts and storms of other parts are mitigated in the Fenland 
and when many parts of England lying along the river valleys are 
frequently suffering from floods and inundations the Fenland is free 
from such disasters, its drainage being thoroughly under control. 

A journey through the Fenland provides a constant source of 
interest. In the northern part, the county-city of Lincoln stands 
out pre-eminently for the varied relics which it contains of past 
ages, and for the beautiful cathedral, which, towering high above 
the Fens, is visible for many miles. Along the Witham, besides 
ruins of Kirkstead Abbey, will be found near Tattershall a most 
perfect specimen of brickwork in the castle built by Cromwell, 
treasurer to Henry VII; and scarcely is this lost sight of, when the 
magnificent tower of Boston Church rises high above the level plain, 
with its beacon lantern standing like a guardian over the Fenland. 



Passing along through the villages will be found churches which, 
either from their size, the beauty of their design, or their historical 
associations, stand out as monuments of the piety of the ancient 
Fenmen, and will well repay a visit of inspection. As the southern 
extremity of the Fen is reached the ruins of Crowland Abbey and 
the unique triangular bridge recall all that we owe of religion and 
learning to St. Guthlac and his pious successors. As the Cathedral 
of Lincoln is conspicuous on the north, so Peterborough attracts 
attention in the south. The general characteristics of the district 
are not without their interest. In the late summer or early 
autumn the Fenland roads and the wide drains are flanked on each 
side either by the golden waves of the ripening corn, moving gently 
in the breeze, and extending far away on the horizon, or by rich 
pasture fields, in which are grazing cattle and sheep of a quality 
and size indicative of the richness of the land on which they are 
reared. The whole, a picture of luxuriant nature, which justifies the 
remark of Cobbet, when he made his excursion through the Fenland, 
that "everything taken together, here are more good things than 
man could have the conscience to ask of God." 

No trustworthy record of the state of the Fens previous to the previous to 
invasion of the Romans, shortly before the Christian era, exists. invasion. 
The condition of the Fenland and the history of its inhabitants can 
therefore, only to be gathered from scattered remarks in Tacitus and 
other Roman writers. Generally it may be assumed that originally 
the whole of that part of the east of England extending from 
the Trent to Huntingdon, except the high land about Lincoln, was 
one vast morass, into which the waters of the Trent, the Witham, 
the Welland, the Nene and the Ouse discharged themselves, and 
which, being below the level of high tides, was subject to constant 
inundation by the sea. Gradually the land rose by the deposition 
of alluvial matter and the constant growth of vegetation, leaving, 
however, large creeks, or arms of the sea, which afterwards became 
pools of stagnant water. On the accreted land, interspersed amongst 
the pools and meres, were spots of high ground, on which the few 
and scattered inhabitants lived, their only means of communication 
with the mainland, in winter, being by coracles, or wicker boats 
covered with skins. These islands, although no longer standing 
out prominently amidst a vast area of submerged territory, may, 
as already mentioned, still be traced by their higher elevation and 
by the terminations of their names. 

" The original inhabitants of the Fens most probably migrated Motley's 
from the opposite coasts of Holland and Belgium, from the delta Dulch Re P" bUl: - 
formed by the mouths of the Rhine, the Scheldt and the Meuse, a 
district resembling the Fenland, inasmuch as it consisted of wide 
morasses, in which oozy islands were interspersed among lagoons 
and shallows, a district partly below the level of the tides and 



SELECTION OP 
LOW LAN OS FOR 
SETTLEMENTS. 



THE COR-ICENI. 



Henry's Great 
Britain. 



Kemble's 
Saxons in Eng- 
land. 



Oliver's 
Religious Houses 
on the Witham. 



THE ROMAN 
PERIOD. 
60 B.C. 



subject to constant overflow from the rivers, and to frequent inun- 
dations from the sea." In Caesar's account of Britain it is stated 
that the Fen coast was peopled by Belgae, drawn thither by the 
love of war and plunder. Strabo says that the latest emigration of 
Gauls and Belgas took place only a few years before Caesar's 
invasion. 

It is a singular fact in the early history of civilization that, 
while land was plentiful and people few, selection should have been 
made for purposes of settlement of low and swampy tracts of land, 
which could only be inhabited by maintaining a constant struggle 
with the rivers and the sea. The ancient Egyptians carried out 
most extensive works of reclamation. The Romans, not content 
with appropriating land all over the world, added to their territory 
at home by draining lakes and reclaiming marshes. Holland is a 
wonderful example of land gained from the sea, and held by the 
enterprise and skill of man. In more recent times our own colonists, 
with all the vast territory of America to choose from, yet selected 
the low swampy plains bordering on the Mississippi as one of their 
principal settlements, which could only be made profitable after an 
enormous cost had been incurred in embanking and confining the 
river. The Fenland affords another example of this singular pecu- 
liarity and we can only wonder why the Britons, Romans, Saxons 
and Danes should all successively have made settlements amongst 
the meres and swamps of the Fens. 

The tribe of Britons who occupied Lincolnshire were known as 
the Iceni, from the word Yclun, oxen. They were closely connected 
with the Coritani, who occupied the east coast up to Cambridge and 
Huntingdon, and whose name was derived from Cor, a sheep. 
The joint tribe being known as the Cor-Iceni. Their principal 
occupation and chief means of subsistence was pasturage, the rich 
marshes and higher land in the Fens affording excellent feeding 
ground for their herds. They lived almost entirely on flesh, milk 
and buds, and grew little or no corn, until taught by the Romans. 
Lindcoit (Lincoln) was the principal town of the Cor-Iceni and is 
referred to by Ptolemy as a place of importance. Bardney is 
supposed to have been their chief Druidical station, its name 
" Bard's Island," denoting its origin. The remains of two British 
encampments have been discovered, one on the moor near Tatter- 
shall and the other at Revesby, where the contour of the land 
at the present day shows traces of what are supposed to have been 
British settlements. 

The Romans first came to Britain about sixty years before the 
Christian era. Soon afterwards they found their way into the Fen 
district. In a.d. 6i Suetonius Paulinus subdued the Coritani and 
Iceni, and Roman military colonists began to settle in this county. 
At the end of the first century, a Roman colony was founded at 



COLON 1 A. 



Lincoln. The soldiers are said to have cruelly oppressed the 

inhabitants and, not content with turning them out of their houses Henry's History 

and depriving them of their lands, insulted them with the name of 

slaves. Prasutagus, the king of the Iceni, a prince renowned for his 

opulence and grandeur, was killed, all his possessions were seized 

and plundered by the Roman soldiers, his Queen was beaten with 

stripes for remonstrating, his daughter violated and his relations 

taken as slaves. The chiefs of the Iceni were deprived of their 

possessions and the inhabitants who were left complained that the 

Roman governor lorded it over their persons, and the Procurator over 

their fortunes. At last the Iceni, inflamed with resentment, flew to 

arms and, being joined by the Trinobantes, poured in a torrent on the 

Roman colony at Camalodunum, put to the sword all who fell in their 

hands and laid all the buildings in ashes. Afterwards Boadicea, who 

was queen of the Iceni, headed a further revolt against the Romans, »■»• 6 *- 

but was subdued by Suetonius Paulinus. 

After this the Romans made great changes in the country of the 
Cor-Iceni, by introducing the cultivation of corn and by building forts 
and stations. Lindum Colonia (Lincoln) was one of the nine colonies uhdu 
held by the veteran soldiers of the legions on condition of rendering 
military service. The place was strongly fortified, the eastern wall 
running nearly in a line with the transepts of the present minster, 
which stands partly within the site of the fortress. In time it became 
one of the most considerable towns which the Romans occupied in 
Britain, and is mentioned several times by Ptolemy and Antoninus. 
Lincoln, in fact, became a minature Rome, governed by similar laws 
and adorned with temples, courts, theatres and statues. 

The rich lands bordering on the Fens, under the tillage of the 
Roman colonists, proved very productive, and this county was one 
of the most plentiful pro-rinces of the empire, and a market for 
export to other conquered countries. A fleet of 800 vessels, which 
had been built on the Rhine, for transporting food for the use of the 
armies, was sent to Britain to fetch corn ; and the colonies on the 
upper Rhine were preserved from famine chiefly by corn sent from 
Britain. 

The principal port used bv the Romans in their traffic with the 
continent was Wainfleet (Vainona) and this place was connected 
with Lincoln by a road passing through the Fens to Horncastle 
(Banovallum). Another road went to Burgh, which was also a 
Roman station. Boston then had no existence either as a town or 
port. The whole country between Washingborough and Boston 
was at the time of the Roman invasion a vast swamp and it is 
extremely improbable that any defined channel existed of sufficient 
size to be navigable. Wainfleet, on the other hand, was the first 
sheltered land their vessels would make after leaving the open ocean 
and, being protected by Gibraltar Point, the boats would he in a 



A.D. 359. 



VAINONA. 




ROMAN 

MENT 
INHAB 



TREAT- 
OF THE 
ITANTS. 



safe haven. After the cut or canal had been made between Lincoln 
and Dogdyke the vessels would, no doubt, pass up the Deeps and 
reach Lincoln through Boston. 

After having subdued the country, the policy of the Romans 
appears to have been to try to make the inhabitants forget their 
nationality and become Roman citizens. For this purpose, Tacitus 
tells us in his life of Agricola that in order to reclaim the natives 
from the rude and unsettled state which prompted them to war and 
to make them reconciled to quiet and tranquility, they were incited 
by private instigation and public encouragement to eredl temples, 
courts of justice and dwelling houses. Liberal education was 
provided for the sons of the chieftains, so that they became ambi- 
tious and acquired a taste for those luxuries which stimulate vice. 
The captives taken in war, and the more menial of the natives were 
made slaves, and were occupied in carrying out works of improve- 
ment. Galgacus, a British chieftain, in a harangue to the Britons 
on the eve of one of the battles between the natives and the Romans, 
thus addressed his followers : — " Our children are torn away by 
levies to serve in foreign lands, our estates and possessions are 
consumed in tributes, our grain in contributions, our bodies are 
worn down amidst stripes in clearing woods and draining marshes." 



THE ROMAN 



They were also employed in the formation of roads for the purpose of 
connecting together the chief military stations and ports. A 
description of those made in the Fenland will be found in the chapter 
on roads. 

Tradition has always given credit to the Romans for the con- 
struction of the sea banks running along the coast, which BANK 
protect the Fens from inundation from the tides, and are known at 
the present day as " the Roman Banks." Dr. Stukeley con- 
sidered that these banks were made in the time of Severus, which 
seems not obscurely hinted at by Herodian III, who observed in 
speaking of this general, " But he had it in his particular care to 
make passes over the Fens, that the soldiers might stand firm and 
fight upon hard ground ; for many places in Britain are marshy 
through the frequent overflowing of the ocean, over which the 
inhabitants will swim and walk, though up to their middle in 
water." 

While there is no trustworthy evidence to prove that such is the 
case, every fact seems to point out the Romans as the only people 
who could possibly have carried out such a large undertaking. 
The length of these banks on the Lincolnshire coast, extending 
from Wainfleet to the outfall of the Witham, and on the coast 
between the Witham and the Welland, and also between the 
Welland and the Nene is not less than 50 miles. The average 
height may be taken at ten feet. The construction of a work of 
such magnitude would require a vast army of men, and an 
organization which could only be supplied by the Roman govern- 
ment. These banks are not works of a character that could be 
carried out in portions and spread over a great number of years. 
The enclosure of a large tract of marsh covered by the spring 
tides, is a work that requires great vigour and must be carried on 
continuously, or the earth put into the bank during one set of tides 
will be washed away again. Even with the experience of the 
present day, there have been attempts at enclosure which have 
utterly failed : the banks have been carried a certain distance, 
but the final closing in has been found so difficult and costly that 
the attempt has been abandoned. 

It is known from history that the Romans, either previous 
to the time when the Lincolnshire banks were constructed, or 
soon afterwards, carried out very large works of a similar 
character, a detailed account of which is given by Dugdale. Dugdaie's Em- 
From Pliny we learn that in the year 593, B.C., when C. Anicius ^SL^ 
Gallus and M. Cornelius Cethegus were consuls, the senate being 
in counsel concerning the provinces, there was a motion made 
concerning the improvement of a great level of waste land lying 

under water, about 40 miles from Rome, in Latium 

The senate thought they should deserve the praise of good 



husbands for the commonwealth, if, in this opportunity of leisure, 
they should gain such a quantity of rich land to Italy. Neither was 
this employment thought too mean for the legions, though con- 
sisting of free-men ; for the Roman and Italian infantry, as well 
accustomed to the spade and basket as to the sword and buckler, 
•worked for the common good in time of security. The consuls, 
(anno 566 J had given a precedent, who, lest their soldiers should 
be idle, employed them in 'making of highways. Hereupon it was 
decreed that one consul should attend the enemy and the other 
undertake the draining of the Pompeian marshes. By order of 
the senate the Pompeian Fens were laid dry by Cornelius 
Cethegus the consul, and were made good ground. The Fens 
about Placentia were secured by banks from the inundations of 
the Po. The country in Gallia Cisalpina lying flat and towards 
the sea, which was a fenny marsh was, by the help of banks 
and trenches, drained and made useful for tillage. The Emperor 
Claudius employed 30,000 men for the space of eleven years in 
draining the Fucine lake in Italy. 

It is also recorded that Probus prevented the irregularities 
of the soldiers by employing the legions in constant and useful 
labours. When he commanded in Egypt, he executed many 
considerable works for the splendour of that rich country. The 
navigation of the Nile was improved, and temples, bridges, 
porticoes and palaces were constructed by the hands of the 
soldiers, who acted by turns as architects, as engineers, and as 
husbandmen. It was reported of Hannibal that, in order to 
preserve his troops from the dangerous temptations of idleness, 
he had obliged them to form large plantations of olive trees 

along the coast of Africa He thus converted into tillage 

a large and unhealthy tract of marsh ground near Sirmium. 

Gibbon's Di- Another powerful motive that would lead to the embanking of 

c thTR?manEm- the Fens doubtless arose from the security they afforded to the 
p1 "' natives, who, as related by Marcellinus, " not dwelling in the 

towns but in cottages within fenny places, compassed with 
thick woods, having hidden whatsoever they had most estimation 
of, did more annoyance to the wearied Romans than they received 
from them." In fact the Fens formed a sort of camp of refuge for 
the Britons, as later they did for the Saxons, where it would be 
impossible for any military force to follow and dislodge them ; and 
it is evident the Romans could neither pasture their cattle on the 
marshes nor enjoy any security for their property until the natives 
were hunted out of their retreats. 

That the native inhabitants were also employed in these 
embankments may be gathered from the expression used in the 
speech of the British Chief, Galgacus, already quoted, in which he 



complained that their bodies were worn down in clearing woods and 
draining marshes. 

There is every probability that the Britons resisted the raising 
of the sea banks and the presence of the Romans in the Fens, as 
much as their successors did when these were finally reclaimed ; 
and attempts would be made to frustrate the enclosure by cutting 
through and destroying the newly-made banks for several years 
after their construction. To prevent this, it would be necessary to 
have watchmen stationed along the banks, and probably for this 
purpose the raised mounds, which exist up to the present time along Fen Mounds 
the course of the banks, were constructed. Various theories have 
been assigned for the origin of these mounds, but it is more 
reasonable to suppose that they were used for this purpose than, 
as has been suggested, for places of sepulture or of worship. It 
is hardly likely that sites would be chosen for either of these 
purposes on land constantly flooded with water and away from all 
habitations. No bones or traces of sepulture have ever been 
discovered when these mounds have been cut into, or removed. If 
these mounds were constructed at the same time as the banks, they 
would afford forts or places for the encampments of the guards on 
watch, and a refuge for any men who might be overtaken at high 
tides, during the construction. The position of these mounds is 
almost invariably near a fen or river bank. Several of them have 
been levelled, but mounds are yet to be found, at Friskney Row, two 
miles from the bank, at Wrangle, on the high land within a mile of 
the Outer Fen Bank, but close to the bank known as Wrangle Sea 
Dyke. Another, known as King's Hill, is close to the bank on the 
south side of Wrangle Common and on the site of an ancient circular 
camp : both these banks were probably made as part of the general 
scheme, or previous to the construction of the outer banks. At 
Freiston ij miles from the Sea Bank. In Skirbeck an elevation is 
still known as Toot or Look Out Hill. Near Rochford Tower in 
Fishtoft ; and at Sandholme in Frampton. On the Witham, the 
Mill Hill, opposite the Hammond Beck Outfall ; and on each side 
of the river at Fishtoft and Wyberton. The latter has within the last 
few years been removed : no antiquities or remains of any kind 
were discovered during its removal. At Kirton Skeldyke ; and 
between Kirton and Fosdyke ; in Sutterton, Swineshead, Drayton, 
Wigtoft, and Donington Eaudyke, all about i mile from the banks 
of Bicker Haven ; two near Holbeach Clough •; one each at Fleet, 
and Gedney ; and seven others near the banks between the Nene 
and the Ouse. 

The only other probable solution of the origin of these mounds 
is that they were erected by the Saxon settlers, after the Roman 
banks had been built, for the purpose of lighting beacon fires in 
order to give notice all along the coast when the Danish marauders 



ROMAN DRAIN 
ASt WORKS, 



were is covered approaching. It is on record that a tax of 
twelve pence was levied on every hide of land, for guarding the 
coast against the Scandinavian invaders. Fires lighted on these 
mounds might have formed a part of this system of warning and 
defence. 

At the time when the Romans settled in Lincolnshire, the land 
on which the lower part of the city of Lincoln now stands, and also 
a very considerable area on its west side, was low swampy ground, 
frequently covered by water. The deepest part of this swamp is 
still a pool, and is known as Brayford Mere. The city derives its 
name from this pool, the ancient British word for a deep pool being 
Lynn. The meaning of the word Lincoln is, therefore, " the 
settlement by the deep pool." The Witham and the Till dis- 
charged their water into the Lynn, and the swampy and low ground 
was frequently flooded by the overflowing of the Trent, which was 
then unembanked. The overflow from Brayford Mere would be 
either by a natural water course along the line of the Fosdyke, or 
through ths gap in the high land bslow the high part of the 
city, into the meres on the south, where was another great mere, 
extending from Washingborough to Chapel Hill, into which the 
Langworthy, the Bane and the Slea discharged their waters. The 
outlet for this mere was a winding tidal creek, extending through 
the marshes below Chapel Hill to the Scalp at Fishtoft, which has 
since become the channel of the Witham. In order to drain these 
meres and swampy grounds, the Romans either enlarged an old 
waterway, or cut the channel to the Trent, now known as the Fos- 
dyke, the prefix of this name being the Roman word for an embanked 
cutting or ditch, the affix being Saxon and having the same 
meaning. For the drainage of the mere below Lincoln, the 
Cardyke, (Car being the British word for Fen) was cut, skirting 
the higher ground on the west side and preventing the highland 
brooks from pouring their contents into the mere. The Cardyke 
was continued along the west side of the Black Sluice level, which 
was a continuation of the same mere and ran southwards to Thurlby 
and thence to the Welland and the Xene. It was made navigable 
and afforded communication between Peterborough and Lincoln 
and thence by the Fossdyke to the Trent. The course of this canal 
can be clearly traced at the present day, many parts being still in 
use for drainage purposes. Remains of forts, placed for its pro- 
tection, have been discovered at Billingborough, Garwick, Walcot, 
Linwood, and Washingborough. 

For the drainage of Brayford Mere and of the swampy ground 

witham. round Lincoln and to afford a better outlet for the Witham water, a 

straight cut was made by the Romans through the gap in the cliff 

below the city to Shortferry and thence, skirting the high land, to 

the tidal creek at Chapel Hill. This cut now constitutes the 



THE FOSDYKE. 



THE CARDYKE 



THE LOWER 



II 

channel of the river Witham. This catchwater drain intercepted 
the water of the Langworthy and all the other brooks and water 
courses which formerly passed their water into the mere. The 
absence of all winding in the course of the channel between Lincoln 
and Chapel Hill, and the fact that portions of the fen lie on the east 
side, between it and the high land, indicate that this river was never a 
natural stream. 

The watercourse now known as the Hammond Beck was either 
cut for the purpose of diverting the water from the mere of the 
Lindsey Level or was a natural stream, straightened and improved. 

The course of another artificial cut or drain may be traced in 
the Westlode, which drained the low lands towards Deeping 
Fen and emptied into the Welland. 

Ample testimony to the wisdom that designed this system of 
catchwater drains is provided by the various projects that have been 
brought forward by modern engineers, for utilising such parts of the 
Cardyke as passed through the fens then immediately under their 
consideration ; and the system of catchwater drainage was adopted 
by Mr. Rennie for the East and West Fens. 

Other works, supposed to have been carried out by the'Romans, 
are the Roman bank, extending from the Welland, near Cowbit, in 
an easterly direction to the Delph bank, which joins the sea wall. 
At Whaplode Drove, Gedney Hill and Sutton St. Edmunds, traces 
of Roman Camps have been discovered. 

Numerous remains of buildings, which from time to time have 
been discovered buried beneath the surface of the present city of 
Lincoln, testify to the fact that it must have been an important 
place during the Roman occupation. These discoveries tend to 
show that the old Roman city lies about 9 to 12 feet below the 
surface of the present town. Amongst other ruins, the bases of 
large pillars of sandstone were discovered in 187S. A Roman r OI » 
hypocaust was also found below the foundation of the present castle 
prison ; a tesselated pavement was uncovered below the minster Lincoln Guide. 
cloisters ; and, in 1S79, another pavement was partially bared, below 
the Exchequer gate, and also part of the frescoed wall, on the 
stucco of which the pattern was still visible. A Roman milestone 
stood near the Bailgate, at the point where the eastern and western 
streets of the military town crossed Ermine street. On it is an 
inscription, which states that it was placed there, in the time of the 
Emperor Gallienus, by Victorinus, who ruled in Britain 265-7, A.D. 
The most interesting remnant of the occupation of the Romans is the 
Newport gate, which was built by them and through which passed 
one of their main roads. A shield, supposed to be of Roman and 
British origin, and swords an3 spears of the same period were 
discovered in the Witham when it was deepened in 1788. At 
Wainfleet, a coin of the Emperor Claudian was discovered about 40 



LINCOLN. 



years ago, and, at an earlier period, when cellars for the Angel Hotel 
were being dug, a pitcher of Roman make was found. Roman coins 
have also been found at Boston, Spalding, Gedney, Sutton St. 
Edmunds, and at Fleet, a large number of them being of the reign of 
the Emperor Gallienus ; also a Roman sword, near Fleet mill ; at 
Horncastle, Roman urns, coins of the reigns of Vespasian, Trajan, 
Caligula and Nero. A quantity of pottery and coins have also been 
found at Whaplode Drove and Fleet. 

end of hom«n After an occupation of upwards of 400 years, the Romans, about 

420 a.d. the year 420 A.D., withdrew their legions from Britain, to assist in 
the defence of their territories nearer home, and the country then 
became an easy prey to the Saxons, who had, for some time previ- 
ously, been making invasions of this part of the coast. The 
colonists and Latinised natives, demoralised by the social refine- 
ments and luxurious habits acquired from the Romans, and degen- 
erated from their original standard of manliness and virtue, soon 
gave place to the hardy and adventurous Saxons, and, within an 
apparently short time, all trace of the forms of Roman government 
and subjection disappeared. The great Roman city of Lincoln, being 
taken possession of by Cerdic the Saxon, became one of the 
principal settlements of the Angles and was made the capital of 
Mercia and the residence of the Saxon king. 

The colonists who now took possession of the Fenland were 
offshoots from that vast, restless body of Saxons which gradually 
spread north-west and across Central Europe, and extended to the 

the saxoms. coast, along the course of the Elbe. The tribe who settled near the 
coast were known as the Angles, and these men, crossing the North 
Sea in pursuit of plunder, and finding the Fenland not unlike the 
land from whence they came, finally settled here. 

The new settlers, who were known as the Gyrwas, or Fen- 
men, appear to have thoroughly appropriated the land and all that 
belonged to it, as their successors have since done in America and 
the other colonies. All traces of the Britons have disappeared, and 
hardly a single name is to be found in the fen district to show that 
they, or the Romans, once occupied it. The only places whose 
names bear any indication of British origin are Lincoln, Bardney 
and Kirton. Even the names of the rivers, which in other parts of the 
country have retained their ancient British designations, in the Fens, 
afford, with perhaps the exception of the Glen and the Bane, no link 
with the past. The Romans left their enduring stamp on the 
country in the magnificent works which they carried out, in the 
remains of their forts and dwellings, and in the coins and other 
relics which, even to this day, are occasionally discovered ; but so 
completely did the Saxons take and retain possession of the Fenland 
and absorb or disposess the previous occupants, that only two 
names, Lincoln and Fossdyke, remain bearing Roman traces and, 



!3 

even in these two cases, only one half the name is Roman, the 
other half of the latter being Saxon. 

The Anglo-Saxons, having once taken possession of the Fens, 
held their own against all comers, and, to this day, the Fenland, in 
its names and manners, is more purely Saxon than any other part of 
England. The Danes gained some foothold, but so far as names of 
villages, places and people indicate the)- were unable to dispossess 
the Saxons. The names of most of the villages skirting the Fen- 
land are of Danish origin, but only a few within the Fenland, and 
these near the rivers and the coast, can be traced to the Danes. Of 
the villages in the Fenland 29 have a Saxon origin, eight appear to 
be more Danish than Saxon, and live are doubtful. Of the former, 
fourteen have the termination Ton, four that of Ey, and three 
of Fleet ; and, of the latter, two have Beck for a termination, three 
Toft, and one Wick and Bech. 

The Saxons, having settled down and colonised the land, not 
only adapted themselves to the use of the produces peculiar to the 
district, by learning to eat fish, but brought with them from their 
Teutonic homes the arts of agriculture and raised considerable 
quantities of wheat for bread, and of barley for making beer, of which 
they consumed very large quantities. From the numerous grants 
of salt pans contained in old Saxon documents, it is evident also 
that they had acquired the art of evaporating salt from the sea 
water of the estuary. 

Man}- of the Saxon chiefs, who came over in the first instance 
for plunder, returned with their families and settled down as colonists. 
These settlers constructed wattled huts on the highest ground they 
could find, and for protection from sudden incursions, whether of 
the water or their enemies, fenced the homestead round with a bank. 

These first settlements were called Tons by the Saxons, each 
being known by the name of the head of the community, and were, 
no doubt, connected together by a causeway, raised above the level 
of the floods in winter, which enabled the inhabitants to communicate 
with each other. In some cases, these Toils had been the homes of 
dispossessed Britons, as probably in the case of Bardney and Kirton. 
Each settlement devoted space for worship and burial, the Druidical 
grove or altar giving way to the early churches of the Saxons and 
their successors. The present site of the village churches may, 
therefore, be regarded as the spot where the first settlement of the 
families of the early colonists took place, and the present main 
roads, as running along the site of the early causeways. As the 
family increased, the banks of the Ton were extended and the 
number of dwellings increased, and thus was commenced the 
foundation of those scattered collections of houses and cottages to 
which the Normans gave the name of villages. 



saxon names 
'of places. 



SAXON TONS. 



H 



INTRODUCTION 
OF CHRISTI- 
ANITY INTO THE 

FENUND. 



Hollinshtd. 



ST. GUTHLAC. 



Ingulph. 



These Tons were subsequently joined into the Hundreds or 
Wapentakes of Skirbeck, Kirton and Elloe by King Alfred. 

During the seventh century, when Christianity was replacing 
Paganism, four priests were sent from the monastery at Lindis- 
farne in Northumberland, into Mercia, and their chief, Paulinus, 
after having been made instrumental in the conversion of Edwin, 
King of Northumberland, accompanied that monarch in his conquest 
of Lindsey, the event being thus chronicled by Holinshed, who 
gathered his account from Matthew of Westminster. " Moreover, 
Pauline, after that he had converted the Northumbers, preached the 
word of God unto them of Lindsey, which is a part of Lincoln- 
shire ; and first he persuaded one Blecca, the Governor of 
Lincoln, to turn unto Christ, together with all his family. In 
that city he also builded a church of stone work.'' This movement 
had a material effect on the prosperity of the Fenland. Many of 
the early monks, for pious purposes, settled in the district, and round 
their settlements gradually sprang up monasteries, where the 
Abbots reclaimed the fen around their dwellings and became the 
prime movers in all works of improvement. The places where 
these settlements took place were on the islands or high places in 
the Fens. An old writer, describing these, says : " For by the 
inundations and overflowing of the rivers, the water standing upon 
the level ground maketh a deep lake andsorendereth it uninhabitable, 
except in some high places which God of purpose raised (as may 
be thought) to which there is no access but by navigable vessels." 

One of the earliest of these settlers was St. Guthlac, a youth of 
the royal race of Mercia, who sought a refuge in the very heart of 
the fens, at Crowland. His youth had been spent in accordance 
with the wild barbarism of the times, in constant feuds with his 
neighbours, in robbing them of their cattle, in sacking and burning 
towns and homesteads. Suddenly, we are told, as he lay one night 
sleepless in the forest, amongst his sleeping war band, there rose 
before him the thought of his crimes and of the doom that waited 
on him. At the abbey of Repton, the burying place of the royal 
line of Mercia, he shore off the long hair which marked the noble, 
and, moved by the life of the hermit saints, of which he had heard, 
took himself to the heart of the Fens. Its birds became his friends, 
they perched unhindered on his shoulder and rested in the thatch 
that covered the little cell he had built, until his solitude was broken 
by the crowds of devotees, by Abbot, and by Monk, by Thegn and 
by Ceorl, as they flocked over the fen to the solitary cell, and so 
great was the reverence that he won, that two years after his death 
the Abbey of Crowland was raised over his tomb. 

The Biographer of St. Guthlac gives us, in the following 
description, some idea of the fens at the beginning of the eighth 
century : — " There is in the middle part of Britain a hideous fen of 



15 

a huge bigness, which, beginning at the banks of the river Grante, 
extends itself from the south to the north in a very long tract, even 
to the sea : oft-times clouded with moist and dark vapours, having 
within it divers islands and woods, as also crooked and winding 
rivers. When, therefore, that man of blessed memory, Guthlac, 
had found out the desert places of this vast wilderness, and by 
God's assistance had passed through them, he enquired of the 
borderers what they knew thereof, who relating several things of 
its dreadfulness and solitude, there stood up one among them, 
called Tatwine, who affirmed that he knew a certain island, in the 
more remote and secret parts thereof, which many had attempted to 
inhabit, but could not for the strange and uncouth monsters and 
several terrors wherewith they were affrighted : whereupon, St. 
Guthlac earnestly entreated that he would show him that place. 
Tatwine, therefore, yielding to the request of this holy man, taking 
a fisher's boat (Christ being his guide through the intricacies of this 
darksome fen) passed thereunto, it being called Croyland, and 
situate in the midst of the lake, but in respect of its desertness 
formerly known to very few; for no countrymen, before that devout 
servant of Christ, S. Guthlac, could endure to dwell in it, by reason 
that such apparitions of devils were so frequently seen there." 

" Not long after, S. Guthlac, being awoke in the night time, 
betwixt his hours of prayer, as he was accustomed, of a sudden he 
discerned his cell to be full of black troops of unclean spirits, which 
crept in under the door, as also at chinks and holes, and coming in, 
both out of the sky and from the earth, filled the air as it were with 
dark clouds. In their looks they were cruel, and of form terrible, 
having great heads, long necks, lean faces, pale countenances, ill- 
favoured beards, rough ears, wrinkled foreheads, fierce eyes, stink- 
ing mouths, teeth like horses, spitting fire out of their throats, 
crooked jaws, broad lips, loud voices, burnt hair, great cheeks, high 
breasts, rugged thighs, bunched knees, bended legs, swollen ancles, 
preposterous feet, open mouths and hoarse cries ; who with such 
mighty shrieks were heard to roar that they filled almost the whole 
distance from heaven with their bellowing noises ; and, by and by, 
rushing into the house, first bound the holy man ; then drew him 
out of his cell, and cast him over head and ears into the dirty fen ; 
and having so done, carried him through the most rough and 
troublesome parts thereof, drawing him amongst brambles and 
briers for the tearing of his limbs." 

A modern writer of more practical turn of mind suggests that 
the ague which this pious saint suffered from was the cause of 
many of the pains which he ascribed to the malice of the evil 
spirits ; or, as Kingsley suggests in TJte Hermits, " The whistle of 
the wind through the dreary night; the wild cries of the water 
fowl, were translated into the howls of witches and demons ; and 



i6 

the delirious fancies of marsh fever made those fiends take hideous 
shapes before the inner eye, and adt fantastic horrors round the 
Fenman's bed of sedge." 

The reputation for piety acquired by St. Guthlac soon made 
„ . Crowland famous, and, after his death, Ethelbald, King of Mercia, 

Turners . ° 

Anglo-Saxons whose Confessor he had been, determined to erect a monastery to 
his memory, and endowed it with the whole Isle of Crowland, 
together with the adjacent fens lying on both sides of the river 
Welland. The ground on which the monastery was built, being so 
moist and fenny as not of itself to bear a building of stone, a great 
number of piles were driven deep into the ground, and a quantity of 
firm, hard earth, brought from a distance of nine miles, was thrown 
amongst them, and upon this foundation the building was erected. 

The historian is in error as to the building being placed on 
piles. The peat here being underlaid by a hard bed of gravel, piles 
would be unnecessary. From the report recently made on the 
present ruins of Crowland Abbey by Mr. Pearson, it appears that 
the peat on which the tower rests is less than two feet thick, and 
that the bottom of it is 7ft. gin. below the ground line. 

The foundations rested on the peat which, owing to the 
improved drainage, has shrunk, and caused the destruction of the 
building. 

The bounty of the King was thus celebrated in poetry : — 
"The Royal bounty here itself displays, 
And bids with mighty pains a temple raise. 
The soft, the slippery, the unsettled soil 
Had long disdained the busy workman's toil. 
No stone foundations suit this marshy land, 
But piles of oak in goodly order stand ; 
And boats, for nine long leagues, fetch filling land : 
The fickle soil cements to solid ground. 
The sacred pile on the firm base they found, 
And art and labour grace the work around." 
It will be unnecessary further to pursue the history of the 
Abbey of Crowland ; suffice it to say that, though the Monks " had 
ample possessions in the fens yet they yielded not much profit, 
in regard that so great a quantity of them lay for the most part 
under water." The Fens, however, served other purposes than that 
of profit, for, in the many incursions of the Danes, they became 
the chiefest refuge of the Monks, their lives being secured by 
means of these spacious fens, in the reeds and thickets whereof 
they hid themselves to avoid the cruelties of this barbarous people, 
whilst the rest of their convent was murdered and their abbey 
burnt. Saint Guthlac became the patron saint of the Fens, and the 
numerous churches that are dedicated to his memory attest the 
esteem and popularity of the first Christian reclaimer of this part of 
England. In a niche in the wall of the parish church of Fishtoft 
js a statue of St. Guthlac, its patron saint ; and there is a tradition 



BOTOLF. 
654. 



17 

connected with this statue that so long as the whip, the usual Thom pson's 
insignia of the saint, remained in his hand, the parish of Fishtoft Boston. 

should not be infested with rats and mice. 

Another pious settler in the Fens was St. Botolf. He had 
been sent to Belgium, as a youth, to be educated, and, having 
acquired a great reputation for holiness and learning, returned to 
England with high testimonials and a letter of recommendation to 
the Saxon earl, Ethelmund, King of Mercia. Being desirous of 
retiring to a lonely place, away from the wickedness of the world, 
he asked from the King a gift of land in the Fens, which being 
granted, he choose a desolate spot on one of the holmes or islands 
which rose a little above the level of the surrounding fen, which he 
could occupy without dispossessing any previous owner. In this 
spot, described as an untilled place, a wilderness where no man 
dwelt, he founded a monastery in 654, and was held in high esteem 
by the Mercian Prince, whose confessor he was. St. Botolf, who is 
described as having locks as white as wool, and with a heart like the 
down of the thistle, lived long enough to see a monastery spring up 
on the land which he had chosen for its isolation, and over which 
he ruled in an exemplary manner, till his death, in 680. The 
monastery was destroyed by the Danes in 870. The buildings 
were, however, restored, and the place where it was situated was 
called after St. Botolf, its pious founder. Round this nucleus 
gradually sprang up other dwellings, till Botolf s ton became an 
important place and developed into a town, the name being 
shortened into Boston about two centuries ago. 

In 678 Egfried of Northumbria founded the Bishopric of 
Lindissee. In 767, Ceowulf was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln. 

Several monasteries were established along the Witham and 
in South Holland, and, around these, works of reclamation and 
improvement were carried out by the abbots, and the land made to 
produce corn and cattle. 

In the year 870, the Marshes, as the Fens were then termed, are 
described by Hugo Candidus as furnishing wood and turf for fire, 
hay for cattle, reeds for thatching, and fish and water fowl for 
subsistence. This growing prosperity, however, was much checked 
by the incursions of the Danes. In 866, a Danish armament, under 
Hubba and Hingva, invaded East Anglia. 

The following account of the invasion of the Fens by a body 
of Danes, in the year 870, is given by Sharon Turner:—" They s^"^^ 
embarked on the Humber, and, sailing to Lincolnshire, landed 
at Humberston, in Lindsey. After destroying the monastery 
and slaying all the monks of Bardney, they employed the 
summer in desolating the country around with sword and fire. 
About Michaelmas they passed the Witham, and entered the 
district of Kesteven. The Earl Algar drew out the youth of 



INVASION OF 
THE DANES. 
866. 



i8 

Holland : his two seneschals, Wibert and Leofric, assembled, from 
Deeping, Langtoft and Baston, 300 valiant and well-appointed men; 
200 more joined him from Croyland monastry : they were composed 
of fugitives, and led by Tolius, who had assumed the cowl, but who 
previous to entering the sacred profession, had been celebrated for 
his military character. Morcar, lord of Brunne (Bourne), added 
his family, who were undaunted and numerous. Osgot, the sheriff 
of Lincoln, collected 500 more from the inhabitants of the country. 
These patriots, not 3,000 in number, united in Kesteven, with the 
daring hope of checking, by their valour, the progress of the ferocious 
invaders. On the feast of St. Maurice, they attacked the advanced 
bands of the Northmen with such conspicuous bravery, that they 
slew three of their kings and many of their soldiers : they chased 
the rest to the gates of their entrenchments, and, notwithstanding a 
fierce resistance, they assailed these till the advance of night com- 
pelled the valiant Earl to call off his noble army. The English 
ultimately beaten, the Danes burned and destroyed all the towns 
and villages and ravaged and destroyed Croyland Abbey. The vener- 
able Abbot was hewed down at the altar, and the Prior and the rest 
of the monks murdered ; all the tombs and monuments were broken, 
and the ' superb edifice ' devoured by fire ; having accomplished 
which, they set out for Peterborough, then called Medehampstead. 
The Danes were finally defeated in 878, and Alfred the Great 
re-ascended the throne of England. The monks returned to their 
ruined homes, which they soon set about rebuilding, and although, 
during the intervening period of the Norman Conquest, several 
incursions were made by the Danes, in which the Fenmen were 
engaged, no special fact is recorded by history which throws any 
light on the state and condition of the Fens during this period." 

In the churchyard of Algarkirk Church, whither it has been 
removed from the church, is the effigy of a man, which is reputed 
to be that of the Earl Algar here mentioned, from whom the Parish 
takes its name, but its identity is doubtful. 

Later on, there was another invasion under Guthrum, who, 
having murdered the Saxon King, Edmund, took his throne and 
ruled over Mercia and East Anglia. During the latter half of the 
ninth century, the Danes had so completely got possession of the 
North and West of Lincolnshire that it became almost a Danish 
province, and, in common with the adjoining district of East Anglia, 
this part of the country was governed by Danish lords. After 
continual struggles between the Danes and the dispossessed 
Saxons, a final arrangement was come to with King Alfred, by 
which this part of the East Coast was given up to the Danes, 
and the country governed by them became known as the Danelagh, 
i.e., the district under Danish laws. The part most exclusively 
Danish stretches from the coast, in the neighbourhood of Alford 



19 

over the Wolds to Horncastle. The smooth, sandy shore between 
Theddlethorpe and Skegness was a favourite landing place for the streatfieid's 

Tv • L 1 j , r . . Lincolnshire 

JJanisn boats, and the families whom they brought over settled under "" Da ""- 

along the edge of the Fen, from Firsby round by Coningsby, 

Digby, Asgarby, Haconby, to Stamford. Over this district they 

have left their mark in the numerous villages and places, the 

names of which are of Danish origin, and in the Danish derivation 

of numerous words common only to East Lincolnshire. 

East of the boundary line above given, names of Danish origin 
are as conspicuous by their absence, as on the higher land skirting 
the fen they are plentiful. 

A final attempt to subdue the Fenmen was made by Sweyn, 
the Dane, in 1013. He ravaged Kesteven, and burnt and pillaged 
Boston. In 1016, Canute, or Knut, the Dane, ruled over all ,013 ' 

Mercia. It is stated on the authority of Camden, that King 
Canute first allotted the Common Rights on the Fens, and 
" ordered the Fen to be parcelled out among the several towns , 

17 y CANUTE S 

upon it, by Turkill the Dane, who divided it in such manner that allotment of 
each town had such a proportion of Fen for its own, as each town iois. 

had firm land abutting on the opposite Fen. He ordained that 
no township should dig or mow without leave in the Fen belonging 
to another, and that they should all have a common right of 
pasturage, i.e., horn under horn, in order to maintain peace and 
harmony among them." 

Following the Danes, came the Normans, under William the 
Conqueror. Not only did the Fenmen long and successfully 
resist these Norman invaders, but the Fens became the refuge of 
the discontented Saxons from all the country round; or, as 
Dugdale puts it, " This land environed with fens and reed plecks 
was unpassable ; so that they feared not the invasion of an 
enemy, and in consequence of the strength of this place, by reason 
of the said water encompassing it, divers of the principal nobility of 
the English nation had recourse unto it as their greatest refuge 
against the strength and power of the Norman Conqueror." The 
fenny districts of the kingdom of Mercia became the ' camps of 
fefuge ' of the scattered and discomfited Saxons. When William 
the Conqueror had subdued all the rest of England, a brave body 
of men in the Fens still refused him allegiance ; their remote situ- 
ation and solitary habits made them conservative of their ancient 
rights and privileges, and zealous in their allegiance to their liege 
lords and masters. " It is men of this kind,-whose position gives 
them more natural security than their neighbours, and consequently 
more independence, who have been found the last to be conquered 
in every country where their subjugation has been attempted. 
What the rock and defile were to the mountaineer, the reed field 



THE NORMANS. 



20 

and mere were to the Fenman — his home, the source of his 
subsistence, and his defence in seasons of oppression or misfortune." 
Under Hereward, son of Leofric, Lord of Bourne, many a bold 
fight was made for liberty against the usurpers, Ivo of Taillebois, 
Guy de Croun and other Normans, to whom King William 
had given the land of the Saxons. Driven by the conquerors from 
place to place, they at last made the Isle of Ely their final camp of 
refuge, where were collected many of the principal Saxon nobility 
and ecclesiastics. 

The struggles between the Fenmen and the Normans at Ely, 

Camp'ofiiefugc an< ^ m ^ e adjacent Fens, are well described in the " Camp of 

Refuge," which, being written by an author living in and thoroughly 

knowing the Fenland, conveys to the mind a most interesting and 

true picture of the Fens at that time. 

Long and nobly did Hereward, by his sagacity, bravery, and 
self-devotedness baffle all the attempts of the Normans to obtain 
possession of the stronghold. The deeds of Hereward long lived 
in the traditions of the people, and have come down to our day in 
the narratives of the ancient chronicles, and have lately been 
Kin sie 's revived by a modern writer in the graphic and touching romance 
Hereward. f Hereward, the last of the English, in which the writer shows a 
knowledge of the fen country in Saxon times, such as only one 
who had studied the chronicles could give. One short quotation 
from this interesting work may here be given, as descriptive of the 
fen country between Bourne and Crowland. 

Hereward had just returned from Flanders to his native 
country, and arriving at Bourne, the home of his ancestors, he 
finds the place beseiged, and, on enquiring what has happened, is 
answered, " What has happened makes free Englishmen's blood 
boil to tell of. Here, Sir Knight, three days ago, came in this 
Frenchman, with some twenty ruffians of his own, and more of 
one Taillebois, too, to see him safe ; says that this new King, this 
base-born Frenchman, has given away all Earl Morcar's lands, and 
that Bourne is his ; kills a man or two ; upsets the women ; gets 
drunk, raffles and roysters ; breaks into my lady's bower, calling 
her to give up her keys, and when she gives them will have all her 
jewels too. She faces them like a brave princess, and two of the 
hounds lay hold of her, and say that she shall ride through Bourne 
as she rode through Coventry. The boy Godwin — he that was the 
great Earl's godson, our last hope — draws sword on them, and he, 
a boy of 1 6 summers, kills them both out of hand; the rest set on 
him, cut his head off, and there it sticks on the gable spike to this 
hour." Hereward, enraged beyond endurance by this and other 
accounts of the evils that had fallen on his country, his family, and 
his friends, rushed down to the hall, where were assembled the 
Frenchmen, engaged in drunken revelry, and with his own hand 



21 



slays the whole of the guard left in charge of Bourne, fourteen in 
number. The next day he set out for Crowland Abbey, with his 
mother, the Princess Godiva, "and they went down to the water and 
took barge, and laid the corpse of young Godwin therein ; and 
they rowed away for Crowland by many a mere and many an ea ; 
through narrow reaches of clear, brown glassy water ; between 
the dark green alders, between the pale green reeds, where the 
coot clanked and the bittern boomed, and the sedge bird, 
not content with its own sweet song, mocked the song of all 
the birds around : and then out into the broad lagoons, where 
hung motionless, high over head, hawk beyond hawk, buzzard 
beyond buzzard, kite beyond kite, as far as the eye could see. 
Into the air, as they rowed on, whirred up the great skeins of 
wild fowl innumerable, with a cry as of all the bells of 
Crowland, or all the hounds of Bruneswald ; and clear above all 
the noise sounded the wild whistle of the curlews, and the trumpet 
note of the great white swan ; out of the reeds, like an arrow, shot 
the peregrine, singled one luckless mallard from the flock, caught 
him up, struck him stone dead with one blow of his terrible heel, 
and swept his prey with him into the reeds again." 

The King having at last subdued Ely, the Fenmen, in common 
with the rest of England, had to submit to the conquering arm of 
William of Normandy, and numerous grants were made to his 
followers, the land in this district being chiefly shared by Allan 
Rufus, Earl of Brittany and Richmond, Walter D'Eyncourt, Guy 
de Creon or Croun, and Gilbert de Gand. The Earl of Brittany 
had his chief residence at Kirton, and there is reason to suppose 
that the Earl of Richmond had a seat in the parish of Boston, prior 
to the thirteenth century. Walter D'Eyncourt also had a residence 
at Kirton, although the head of his barony was at Blankney ; Guy 
de Croun resided at Freiston. 

But although, to a great extent, the Fenland had been parcelled 
out in grants to the followers of the Conqueror, the Normans were 
never able to subdue the Fenmen to the same state of vassalage as 
the inhabitants of other parts of the country. Instead of the 
Fenmen becoming Normans in manner and language, the 
Normans gradually became converted into Fenmen. 

The real spirit of Norman feudalism obtained but little hold in 
this district. The Fenman still retained his sturdy independance 
and, at the time when the Domesday book was compiled, no shire st °^^ Kg . 
in England could vie with that of Lincoln in the number of its 
freeholders. While the language of the rest of England was being 
corrupted by the Norman French introduced by the Conqueror, 
the Fens yielded neither to their language nor their manners, and 
in the ordinary conversation of a Lincolnshire Fenman of the 
present day is to be found purer Saxon English than in any other 



LANGUAGE OF 
THE FENLAND- 



ORIGIN OF 

NAMES AND 

PLACES. 



11 

part of the country. It was from the fen town of Bourne that 
' the poet and the patriarch of true English ' Robert Manning, or 
Robert of Brunne, as he was generally called, went (A.D. 
1300) to Cambridge, where he became ' the first great writer in 
modern classic English.' 

In fact, the Normans left as little impression on the Fenland, 
so far as the names of the people and the places are concerned, 
as either the Britons or the Romans. 

The retention of the expression Ton, in place of village, is one 
among many proofs of this. The parishes on the east coast from 
Friskney to Boston are still described as the " Holland towns " 
and those on the south as ' the Eleven towns ' the ' town ' being a 
corruption of the Saxon Ton. 

The names which had been given to the villages by the Saxons 
afford a clue to the physical condition of the place at the time it was 
named. Thus Friskney, Stickney, Sibsey, Bardney, Fulney, 
Gedney, were, more or less, islands surrounded by water. Stickford 
was the place on the main road for crossing the swamp between the 
East and West Fens. Butterwick and Wigtoft were havens, or 
places where boats landed their goods, the latter being then on the 
margin of Bicker Haven. Swineshead is derived from Swin, a 
narrow channel or creek. Benington, Leverton, Freiston, Boston, 
Wyberton, Frampton, Algarkirk, Donington, Gutheram-Cote, 
Hubbert's Bridge, Hammond Beck, derive their names from 
earls or chiefs, or other great men of the time, most of these 
places having been settlements of the Saxon families of the 
Benings, or the Dunnas, or of the Earls Leofric, Wibert, Algar, 
Hubba, Guthrum, etc. Waynflete, Surfleet, and Hoffleet show 
their position near tidal creeks. Skirbeck and Pinchbeck, their 
position near fresh water streams ; Cowbit was a cow pasture ; 
Kirton was the site of a temple or church, and was probably a 
British settlement, the prefix meaning a circle, from which followed 
the words kirk and church ; Langrick means simply the Long 
Reach which the river has in this neighbourhood ; Dogdyke, 
formerly spelt Docdyke, means a dock, or place where boats may 
lie surrounded by a bank ; Fishtoft a place of fishermen, a tidal 
creek running up to the village. The whole of the Saxon names 
Domesday Book ■. °f tne parishes in the Fenland are mentioned in Domesday book, 
Smi iatfon ranS e xce pt Benington, Brothertoft, Boston, Cowbit, Sutterton and 
Swineshead. 

The omission of Boston is supposed to be due to its being 

included in the Parish of Skirbeck, the place at that time 

consisting only of the monastery founded by St. Botolf, and the 

habitations which had grown up around it. 

fen churches The churches mentioned in Domesday Book, as existing in or 

in the near tbg ]? en i an( i a t that time, were those at Bourne, Bicker* 

NORMAN TIMES. ' > I 



23 



Butterwick, Blankney, Bolingbroke, Dunston, Frampton, Fishtoft, 
Heckington, Helpringham, Kirton, North and South Kyme, Lever- 
ton, Metheringham, Nocton, Skirbeck, Stickney, Steeping, Stick- 
ford, Sibsey, Thorpe, Tydd St. Mary, Toynton St. Peter's and 
Wyberton. 

There were monasteries at the time of the Conquest at 
Bardney, Boston, Crowland and Spalding. 

After the Norman conquest, the Fens became a favourite 
place with the monks. On the banks of the Witham, twelve 
houses were erected, within the space of twenty miles. On the 
east, were Monk's House, Barlings, Bardney, Tupholme, Stixwould, 
Kirkstead and Tattershall ; and on the west, Kyme, Haverholme, 
Catley, Mere and Nocton. 

In fact, the fen country was described by William of 
Malmesbury, as being full of monasteries, and as having large 
bodies of monks settled on the islands of these waters, to whom 
were made grants of land and rights of fishing, fowling and 
turbary (digging turf for fuel). 

Reference has already been made to the attempts of the 
Abbots to improve and reclaim the fen land around their mon- 
asteries ; and, as these increased in size and importance, they 
attracted numerous tenants, retainers and servants, and the 
Abbots became the principal landowners in the Fens. 

Mr. Morton, in his History of Lincolnshire Churches, remarks 
that, " on their first introduction the members of these monastries 
were laborious men, who drained marshes, cleared woods, cultivated 
wastes, and protected the country from the wolves, then numerous. 
A colony of monks, in small numbers at first, transported them- 
selves into some uncultivated place, and there, as missionaries and 
labourers at once, in the midst of a people as yet pagan, they ac- 
complished their double task with as much of danger as of toil." 
Mr. Oliver also says, " The monks were expert agriculturists and 
by persevering industry converted the ground adjoining their 
houses into a rich and prolific tract, which distinguished them from 
the estates of the neighbouring proprietors. Thus, Temple Bruer 
was built on the barren heath ; Catley, Haverholme, and Kyme 
in a flooded fen ; Epworth Priory in a wood ; Swineshead Abbey 
amongst the willows in a marsh." 

The character born by these different monasteries is thus given 

in an old rhyme. 

Ramsay, the rich of gold and fee, 

Thorney, the flower of many a fair tree, 

Croyland, the courteous of their meat and drink, 

Spalding, the gluttons, as all men do think, 

Peterborough the proud. 

Sautrey, by the way, 

That old abbey, 

Gave more alms in one day than all they. 



MONASTERIES. 



Oliver's 

Religious 

Houses on the 

Witham. 



Morton's 

Lincolnshire 

Churches. 



2 4 



Dugdale. 



Ingulph. 



STATE OF THI 

FENUNO, I2B1 



In the eleventh century, Abbot Egelric so improved a portion 
of the marshes round Crowland, as to be able to plough and sow 
them, and was able to supply the whole country round with corn. 

In the same century, also, Richard de Rulos, the king's 
chamberlain, being much given to good husbandry, such as 
tillage and the breeding of cattle, took in a great part of the 
common of Deeping Fen and converted it into meadow and 
pasture. He also enclosed the river Welland by a mighty bank, 
and, erecting on that bank divers tenements and cottages, did, 
in a Short time, make it a large town." 

The example thus set was followed by other owners. 
In 1085, " The people of Hoyland, at Multon, Weston and 
Spalding, in imitation of those at Depynge, by a common enact- 
ment agreed to among them, divided among themselves, man by 
man, their marshes which were situate above the river Asendyk ; 
on which some put their portions in tillage, others preserved them 
for hay, while some again allowed theirs, as before, to be for pasture 
for their own cattle apart from the others, and found the earth to 
be rich and fruitful." 

The impression which the fens made on those who visited them 
at this time may be gathered from the remarks made by Henry 
of Huntingdon, who, writing in the thirteenth century, says, " This 
fenny country is very pleasant and agreeable to the eye, watered 
by many rivers which run through it, diversified with many large 
and small lakes and adorned with many roads and islands." 
William of Malmesbury also describes the Fens as "a very paradise 
and a heaven for the beauty and delight thereof, the very marshes 

bearing goodly trees there is such abundance of fish as to cause 

astonishment to strangers, while natives laugh at their surprise. 
Water-fowl are so plentiful that persons may not only assuage their 
hunger with both sorts of food, but can eat to satisfy for a penny.' ' 
The land, owing to its fruitfulness and the variety of fruit which 
was grown, was described as affording " a mutual strife between 
nature and husbandry, that what the one forgetteth the other 
might supply and produce." 

The Fens were not always the paradise described by Henry of 
Huntingdon, for frequent floods and inundations caused great 
misery and loss to the inhabitants. Thus, on New Year's day in 
1287, according to Stowe's Chronicle, "as well through the 
vehemency of the wind as the violence of the sea, the monasteries 
of Spalding and many churches were overthrown and destroyed. 
The whole of Holland, in Lincolnshire, was, for the most part, 
turned into a standing pool ; so that an intolerable multitude of 
men, women and children were overwhelmed with the water, 
especially the town of Boston, or Buttolph's town, a great part 
whereof was destroyed." 



25 

The duty of repairing the banks and sluices which protected 
the land from the inundations of the sea, and also of maintaining 
the channels of the watercourses in good order, devolved upon the 
several owners of the lands adjacent to the same, according to 
" antient and approved customs," but no special authority existed 
for superintending such works, and insuring their maintenance in 
proper condition. There were, consequently, frequent floods and 
damage, caused by the neglect of the owners to maintain the banks 
and drains. Dugdale, in his history of embanking and draining, 
gives numerous extracts from the records of petitions to the King, 
by inhabitants of the Fens, who had thus suffered, praying for his 
interference. 

Such drainage as the Fens had at this time was by means 
of the natural streams, and the remains of the works carried 
out by the Romans. The Car Dyke on the west partially 
intercepted and carried off the water from the numerous high- 
land brooks and streams, that extended from Lincoln to Bourne, 
and the Witham fulfilled the same function on the east side of the 
Fens, down to Boston ; below Chapel Hill, it had an exceedingly 
tortuous course, and its channel, from neglect, had become 
nearly filled up with weeds and deposit. The East and West 
Fens were flooded all the winter, the outlet for the drainage of 
the former being by Good Dyke into Wainfleet Haven, and, for 
the latter into the Witham, at a gote, about two miles above 
Boston. The Sibsey river and Hilldyke drain discharged into 
the Witham, above Boston. Skirbeck was drained by the Scire 
beck, which had an outlet into the Haven, below the town, 
and which also took one of the principal drains from Boston, 
the other, the Bar ditch, emptying into the Witham. Fishtoft 
was drained by the Graft drain, which emptied into Boston 
Haven, about three miles below Boston. The other parishes 
between Boston and Wainfleet were drained by sewers, which dis- 
charged by sluices through the Roman bank. Such drainage as the 
Lindsey, or Black Sluice, Level had, was by the Ouse Mere Lode 
into Bicker Haven, on the south, and by the Hammond Beck 
into Boston Haven, on the north. Holland Fen and the lands 
adjacent drained into Kyme Eau and the Skirth, which discharged 
into the Hammond beck, near Swineshead. Frampton Town 
drain, Kirton drain, The Five Towns drain, Risegate Eau, the 
river of Byker, Coin drain, Lafen lode, and the Old Bech drain, 
are all watercourses which were in existence previous to any 
attempt at reclamation being carried out. 

Deeping Fen, which was little better than a lake all the 
winter, found an outlet into the Welland. Spalding was drained 
by the Westlode ; Crowland, by drains made by the monks, 
which discharged into the Welland, and into a branch of the 



CONDITION OP 
THE DRAINAGE, 

IZTH century. 



26 

Nene, now known as the Old Shire drain, which formed the 
principal outlet for the drainage of the district, south of the 
Raven bank. The land north of this drained by the Moulton, 
Holbeach and Whaplode rivers, and by Lutton Learn and Fleet 
Haven, all of which had sluices in the Roman bank, which was 
the only sea bank at that date. 

The general condition of the Fens, as here sketched out, re- 
mained with little alteration, for a period of about five hundred 
years. With the exception of small enclosures, made by the 
religious houses which were established on the borders of the Fens, 
no substantial reclamation was attempted. 

The only works of which there is any record are those of John 
of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who resided at Bolingbroke Castle, 
upon the border of the Fens, and who held considerable rights in the 
Level, and of Margaret, Countess of Richmond, who, with a view to 
the better drainage of the district, " procured an admeasurement and 
division of all the surrounded grounds on the north of Spalding, 
which, beforetime, lay promiscuously, a great work of excellent use, 
not for those times only, but the fruit of it hath continued ever 
since." 

ton' C i E i42. bos * In King Stephen's reign, Alan de Croun and Margaret, 

Countess of Richmond, " caused to be made, a great sluice, below 
the town of St. Botolph, where the Hundreds of Kirton and 
Skirbeck divide and separate, in order to increase the rush and 
force of the waters, by which the harbour is made clear ; which 
harbour is almost obstructed, and has perished, by reason of the 
quantity of mud and sand brought up and deposited from day 
to day by the flow of the sea ; and in order also that the 
channel, by this means, might become deeper, so that the waters 
from all the marshes of Lindsey, Holland and Kesteven, and 
from the lands of the whole country, might come down and 
flow into the sea more easily." This structure is referred to 
subsequently, as the Great Sluice (Magna Slusa) in the channel 
of the water of the Witham, below the town of Boston. 
In 1316, an inquisition was held at Boston, concerning the 
" Great Sluice in the Witham, at Boston," when the Jury made 
a presentment that the sluice was ruinous and in great decay, 
"because many doors are wanting, and also 500 piles from the 
number with which it was constructed, and new fastenings have 
to be brought, and also beams, planks, piles, and binders of every 
kind suitable for use in water, to the great danger of all the district 
in Holland and Kesteven and the marshes of Lindsey and Kes- 
teven." This sluice was again mentioned in Henry the Seventh's 
reign (1543) when an ordnance of sewers was made at Donington, 
by which it was enacted that the floodgate, or sluice, under 



2 7 

Boston Bridge, shall be made of new, because it was in decay, 
and it was to be builded again in sort and order, as the most 
noble Margaret, Countess of Richmond, first made it, and this 
was to be done at the cost and charges of the Parts of Holland, 
that is, the Wapentake of Kirton and Skirbeck Hundred equally, 
to the half of the whole, the Wapentake of Elloe, one quarter, 
and Town of Boston, one quarter. 

It is not known where this strucure was situated. Probably 
it was superseded by the sluice erected by May Hake. 

Records exist of occasional grants of marsh or fen lands made l20S . 

about this time. Thus a grant of marsh was made early in the 13th 
century by King John to Thomas de Muleton, the land being 
described as lying between the waters of Tydd. 

In the reign of Henry III, some attempt was made to remedy 
the condition of the Fens, as it is related that the King, taking notice 
that not only the landowners in those parts, but himself, had 
suffered considerable damage by the overflowing of the sea, and , 216f 
also of the fresh water, through default in repair of the banks, 
sewers and ditches, directed the Shirereeve to distrain the goods of 
all landowners who ought to have repaired the banks and scoured 
out the drains. 

The King's intervention did not take much effect, as subsequent 
floodings and inundations are frequently recorded, some being due 
to causes beyond human control, but most of them to carelessness, 
and even, in some cases, to wilful injury to the banks. 

In 12S7, through the vehemence of the wind and the violence s/ow . s 

of the sea, the monastery of Spalding and many churches were chronic '<< " 8 7- 
overthrown and destroyed. " All the whole country in the parts of 
Holland was for the most part turned into a standing pool, so that 
an intolerable multitude of men, women and children where over- 
whelmed with the water, especially in the town of Boston, a great 
part whereof was destroyed." 

In 1335, one Roger Pedwardine was accused of having cut the 1335 

sea and river banks and thereby inundated the low country. 

In Richard the Second's reign, an inquisition taken at 
Bolingbroke and subsequently a presentment made in the 
court of King's Bench, held at Lincoln, by the jurors of divers 1394. 

Wapentakes, showed " that the marshes of East Fenne and West 
Fenne, as also divers lands, meadows, and pastures lying in the 
towns of Leek, Wrangle, Friskeneye, and Waynflete, betwixt the 
waters of Wytham and Waynflete, were drowned by a great inun- 
dation of water, so that all the inhabitants of those towns and of the 
Soke and Wapentake of Bolingbroke did wholly lose the benefit of 
their lands and marshes there, through the defects of a certain flood- 
gate at Waynflete, which was so narrow that the course of the 
waters passing that way could not get to the sea ; and that the 



28 



Ingulph, 1439, 



Ingulph. 



Hollinshed, 
1571. 



town of Waynflete ought to repair that floodgate, as anciently they 

had wont to do and that it would be necessary to have another 

floodgate new erected, near unto the same, xxii ft. in breadth and that 
the towns of Leek, Wrangle, Friskeney, and Waynflete, together 
with the Soke and Wapentake of Bolingbroke, as also all those 
which had common of pasture in the said marshes, ought to contri- 
bute to the making thereof." 

In 1439, there was such an excessive quantity of water in the 
rivers and streams, in consequence of the extraordinary rains, that 
the embankments around Croyland were unable to hold out against 
the force of the impetuous torrent. The consequence was that the 
waters, having swollen and beaten with all their force against the 
embankments, broke through and inundated the entire surface of the 
adjacent commons. 

In 1467, there was " so great an inundation "of the waters, by 
reason of the snows and continuous rains, that no man then living 
could recall to mind the like. Throughout the whole of South 
Holland there was scarcely a house or building but what the waters 
made their way and flowed through it ; and this remained contin- 
uously during a whole month, the waters either standing there 
without flowing off, or else, being agitated by. strong gusts of wind, 
swelled and increased still more and more, day after day. Nor, on 
this occasion, did the embankments offer any effectual resistance, but 
on the contrary, though materials had been brought from other 
quarters for the purpose of strengthening them, they proved of very 
little service for that purpose. However diligently the work might 
have been attended to in the day time, as the water swelled and 
rose, the spot under repair was completely laid bare during the 
night.'' 

A century later, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, another 
serious flood occured, when, owing to a violent tempest of 
wind and rain, the whole country was flooded. An immense 
number of ships were wrecked on the coast, churches and 
buildings were swept away, and many lives lost. At Mumby 
Chapel the whole town was lost, except three houses ; and the 
church was wholly otherthrown, except the steeple. A ship was 
driven upon a house, the sailors saving themselves by clinging 
to the roof ; and the narrative adds to the romance by telling us 
that " the sailors thought they had bin upon a rocke and committed 
themselves to God ; and three of the mariners lept out from the 
shippe and chaunced to take hold of the house toppe, and so 
saved themselves ; and the wife of the same, lying in childbed, 
did climb up into the top of the house, and was also saved by 
the mariners, her husband and child being both drowned." 
Holland, Leverington, Long Sutton, and Holbeach were all 
overflowed, and many sheep, oxen, and horses were drowned. 



2g 

Bourne was overflowed to the midway of the height of the 
church. This calamity extended over many counties, and did 
an enormous amount of harm. 

The continual complaints made to the Crown, as to the 
loss arising from the constant flooding of the land, led to the 
issuing of numerous Commissions, which had power to order 
such works to be done as they considered necessary for the commissions 
security of the Fenland, and to direct by whom the works were 
to be carried out, and to assess the mode of payment. These 
Commissions were renewed by succeeding sovereigns, till the time 
of Henry VIII, when an Act was passed, investing the Chancellor 
with perpetual authority to grant Commissions whenever they 
should be required. The ordinance recites, that " whereas formerly 
the marshes and low grounds had been, by politic wisdom, won 
and made profitable for the good of the commonwealth, and 
though divers provisions had formerly been made, yet none of 
them were sufficient remedy for the reformation thereof." 

This Act, with others subsequently passed, constitutes the 
origin of the Court of Sewers, which now has control over the 
banks and sewers in all that part of the Fenland which has not 
been removed from its jurisdiction by special Acts of Parliament. 
The more detailed history of this Commission is given in a 
subsequent chapter. 

After the establishment of the Court of Sewers, several 
efforts were made to improve the Fens, but, owing to the difficulty 
of arriving at a basis for the distribution of the payment of the 
cost of carrying out the works proposed, and the inability of the 
Court of Sewers to compel the payment of the taxes for the 
new works, no effectual scheme was carried out. 

In the reign of Henry VII, a council was held to settle what 
means could be devised for the improvement of the navigation 
and drainage of the Witham, and it was determined to erect a 
sluice across the river at Boston, to stop the tide from flowing 
up the channel ; and an acre rate was levied on all the parishes 
in Holland, to provide the money to pay for it. This sluice proved 
of no advantage to the drainage, but the wooden bridge, which 
was built over it, provided a means of communication between the 
east and west side of the town of Boston, which could only 
previously be accomplished by means of a ferry. Further par- 
ticulars as to the erection of this sluice will be found in the 
chapter on the Witham. 

Some improvement was made in the condition of the Fens 
lying north of Boston, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by the 
cutting of Maud Foster drain, and the erection of the original 
outfall sluice, under the direction of the Court of Sewers. 



MAY HAKE'S 
SLUICE ON THE 
WITHAM, 1500. 



MAUD FOSTER 
DRAIN, 1568, 



3° 



FIRST ATTEMPT 
AT RECLAMA- 

TION. 



In the same reign, also, prominent attention was given to 
the question of reclamation of the East and West Fens, by the 
attempt which was then being made by the Earl of Bedford and 
others to reclaim the great Bedford Level, which, at that time, 

Bedford Level included South Holland. The preamble of an Act, authorising 
a scheme for the reclamation of this Level, recites that it was 
passed for the " recovering of many thousands of acres of marshes 
and other grounds, commonly subject to surrounding, within the 
Isle of Ely and the counties of Cambridge, Huntingdon, North- 
ampton, Lincoln, Norfolk, Suffolk, Sussex, Essex, Kent and 
Durham ;" that "it is apparent to such as have travelled in the 
execution of Commissions of Sewers, that the washes, commons, 
marshes and fenny grounds, there subject to surrounding, may 
be recovered by skilful and able undertakers, whereby great and 
inestimable benefit would arise;" that the draining of these 
lands was chiefly hindered owing to the great part of them 
being commons, the holders of rights having, therefore, no 
power to make bargains for the work to be done, or, on 
account of their poverty, to pay the charges. This Act en- 
abled the majority of the Commoners and owners to contract 
with any persons who were willing to undertake the drainage, 
and to grant to them part of the commons for so doing. 

The advantages expected to be gained by the enclosure of 
the Fens are thus set forth in a subsequent Act, relating to the 
Bedford Level; " that, if drained, the great Level may be made 

Bedford Level profitable and of great advantage to the commonwealth, and to 
the particular owners, commoners and inhabitants, and be fit to 
bear cole seed and rape seed in great abundance, which is of 
singular use to make soap and oils within the nation, to the 
advancement of the trade of clothing and spinning of wool ; and 
much of it will be improved into good pasture for feeding and 
breeding of cattle, and of tillage to be sown with corn and grain, 
and for hemp and flax in great quantity, for making all sorts of 
linen, cloth and cordage for shipping within the nation, which 
will increase manufactures, commerce and trading at home and 
abroad ; will relieve the poor by setting them to work, and will, 
in many other ways, redound to the great advantage and strength- 
ening of the nation." 

Shortly after James the First's accession to the throne, a 
series of destructive floods burst the embankments of the Fens 
on the East Coast, and swept over farms, homesteads, and villages, 
drowning large numbers of people and cattle. The King, on being 
informed of the great calamity which had befallen the inhabitants 
of the Fens, principally through the decay of the old works of 
drainage and embankment, declared that, for the honour of his 
kingdom, he would not any longer suffer these countries to be 



Act, 1649. 



ENCLOSURE 
OF MARSHES IN 

SOUTH 
HOLLAND, 1660. 



3 1 

abandoned to the will of the waters, nor let them lie waste 
and unprofitable ; and that, if no one else would undertake their 
drainage, he himself would become the " undertaker." However, a 
measure of taxation for the recovery of these lands, which was 
accordingly proposed to the Commons, was rejected. 

In 1625, a very high tide occured, described as being the 
highest ever known in the Thames, and the sea walls in Kent, 
Essex and Lincolnshire were overthrown, and great desolation 
caused to the lands near the sea. 

During this reign, a large tract of marsh land in South 
Holland, lying between the Roman bank and the South Holland 
embankment, was enclosed by a bank, extending from the Welland 
to the Nene at Tydd. In 1615, a grant was made to certain State i( P a P ers ' 
adventurers, on behalf of the Duke of Argyle, of the marsh lands 
left by the sea, in Wigtoft, Moulton, Holbeach, and Tydd St. 
Mary. These were to be reclaimed at the expense of the Earl, 
with a reservation of a fifth portion, and a rent of ^"76 5s. od. to 
the King. The grant included also certain common lands. In 
1640, a grant was made to the Duke of Lennox, by Charles I, of 
Sutton marshes, with power to embank and enclose them. 

Vermuiden, in a report to the King on the draining of the great 
fens, the particulars of which are fully set out in his Discourse 
on Draining, published in 1642, advised that the rivers Glen and 
Welland should be diverted to the Nene, and the waters of the three 
rivers carried in one common outfall to the sea. This scheme 
was opposed by Andrew Burrell, in a pamphlet, published in 1642. 
In the same reign, several Courts of Sewers were held, and the adven- 
Commissioners appointed by the King, and orders made for 
works to be carried out for the reclamation of the Fens, and 
rates to be levied for payment of the same, and, in default of the 
owners to pay these, the Fens were to be handed over to certain 
" adventurers," who, in consideration of grants of a portion of the 
reclaimed land, undertook to carry out the necessary banks, drains 
and sluices for the " exsiccation " of the Fens. Sir Anthony RECLaM4TION 
Thomas was the " undertaker " for the Fens between the YVitham ° F THE C4ST 

AND WEST FENS. 

and the coast. He commenced operations in 1631, and completed """■ 
the work three years after. For seven years, the Adventurers 
enjoyed the fruit of their labours, building houses, sowing corn, 
and feeding cattle therein ; at the end of that time, the dispossessed 
Fenmen, finding that done of which they themselves despaired, 
in a riotous manner, fell upon the Adventurers, broke the sluices, 
laid waste their lands, threw down the fences, spoiled the corn, 
demolished the houses, and forcibly regained possession of the land. 

The condition of Holland fen attracted a great deal of "»»=" ^»". 
attention in the reign of Charles the first, and the King, at one 
time, intended himself to undertake its reclamation, but subse- 



32 

quently parted with his interest in it to Sir William Killigrew, 
who, with the Earl of Lindsey, then Lord High Chamberlain, 
joined the Adventurers, and undertook the drainage of the fens 
lying- between Kyme Eau and the Glen, called after the principal 
adventurer, the Lyndsey Level, and subsequently the Black 
Sluice District. On the completion of the drainage work in 1636, 
Dugdaie, 1636. the Earl and his fellow Adventurers inclosed the fens, built 
houses and farmsteads, and, having brought the land into culti- 
vation, continued in peaceable possession for about three years. 
At the end of this time, the Commoners and Fenmen, after a 
vain attempt to dispossess the Adventurers by petitions to 
parliament, broke down the sluices, filled in the drains, destroyed 
the crops, and, having driven the Adventurers away, " held 
possession, to the great decay and ruin of those costly works and 
exceeding discommodity to all that part of the country." 
siaie Papers, Subsequently, a grant was made to the same Adventurers, 

giving leave to drain 72,000 acres of the Fens, extending from the 
River Glen to Lincoln, and thence to the Trent, and the Adven- 
turers were put in possession of 14,000 acres, as a recompense 
for the outlay they had incurred. 

There is no record as to what was done under this grant. 

In Queen Elizabeth's reign, an Act was passed, giving power 
to make the Welland navigable from Stamford to the sea. The 
work was carried out, under the superintendence of the Court of 
Sewers, at the expense of the Corporation of Stamford and their 
friends. A Court of Sewers, held at Bourne, in the reign of 
Charles I, granted to Thomas Lovell a concession of the right 
deeping fen, to drain Deeping Fen, on receiving, as compensation, a third of 
the reclaimed lands. Sir Thomas Lovell made an attempt, and 
partially drained the Fen, but failed to carry out the works in 
accordance with his contract. King Charles the First " being 
desirous that the work should be prosecuted for the country's 
good and his own service, in a manner that would most conduce 
to the public and general advantage of the whole Fens, was pleased 
to declare himself the sole Adventurer for the drainage of Deeping 
Fen." The King, however, was unable to carry out his intentions, 
and a fresh contract; was made, in 1638, with Sir Anthony Thomas 
and Sir William Ayloff. By the works executed by these Under- 
takers, the land was so well drained, that in summer the whole 
Fen yielded great quantities of grass and hay, and would have 
been made winter ground, but the Fenmen, taking advantage of 
the confusion throughout the whole kingdom, which prevailed at 
that time, took possession of the land, and, the banks and sewers 
. being neglected, it became again overflowed. 

The more detailed account of the various schemes and works 
carried out at this period, and subsequently, will be found in the 



STAMFORD 
CANAL. 



CONDITION 
OF THE FEN- 
LAND PREVIOUS 
TOTHC RECLAM- 
ATION. 



33 

chapters giving the history of the different districts in which they 
were situated. 

The Crown and the Adventurers, having failed in their attempts 
to reclaim the Fen, principally from the lawlessness of the Fenmen, 
the land reverted back very much to its original condition, and so 
remained for upwards of a century. 

In Cox's Magna Britannia, published in 1728, it is remarked, uagna^ritm 
regarding the Fens of Lincolnshire, that " several attempts have "**■ I728- 
been made to drain this level, and some gentlemen, who have 
estates under water, have endeavoured to get an Act of Parliament, 
but have met with such opposition from the gentlemen in the 
higher parts of the country, who fear that, if these Fens be drained, 
it will sink the value of their estates, that they have not been able 
to effect it." 

Previous to the final reclamation of the Fenland, in the middle 
of the last and the beginning of the present century, this district was 
thus described by Dugdale, " and if we weigh the great inconven- 
ience which these overflowings have produced, certainly the advant- 
age by the general draining ought the more to be prized ; for in the 
winter-time, when the ice is strong enough to hinder the passage _ 5a»*i» e 'an<i 
of boats, and yet not able to bear a man, the inhabitants upon the Draining. 
hards and the banks within the Fens can have no help for food, 
nor comfort for body or soul; no woman aid in her travail, no 
means to baptize a child, or partake of the Communion, nor supply 
of any necessity, saving what those poor desolate places do afford; 
and what expectation of health can there be to the bodies of men, 
where there is no element good ? The air being for the most part 
cloudy, gross and full of rotten harrs ; the water putrid and 
muddy, yea, full of loathsome vermin ; the earth, spongy and boggy, 
and the fire, noisome by the stink of smoaky hassocks." 

Macaulay also describes the inhabitants as a half-savage people, Macauiay's 
leading an amphibious life, sometimes rowing, sometimes wading wt °Znd. " g ~ 
from one firm mound to another, and known as Breedlings. 

Both these pictures are overdrawn. The Fenland, before the 
reclamation, was made up of two parts, the larger area consisting of 
a level tract of alluvial, or marsh land, which, although imperfectly 
draiued, was seldom actually flooded. Interspersed amongst this 
were the Fens, large tracts of low, peaty land, always more or less 
flooded in winter, and a large part of which consisted of meres, and 
pools of water. These marshes and fens afforded valuable summer 
grazing for horses, cattle a ad sheep. On the higher patches of 
ground lived the Fenmen, who attended to the cattle, and gained 
their subsistence by fishing and fowling and rearing large flocks of 
geese. On the higher land, adjacent to the Fens, were the villages 
and churches, which, with the exception of Frithville, Midville, 
Eastville, and Langrick-ville, which were newly created at the 



34 

enclosure, were the same then as now. The condition of the 
inhabitants of these villages, and their means of communication 
with the rest of the world, was neither better nor worse than that 
of many other parts of England. 
the fens. Elstob says, " The Fens were formerly in the nature of 

meadow land, fruitful, healthful and profitable to the people in the 
Eistob's high country in time of drought, hence we find Leland and other 
Bedford Laid, writers very lavish in their praises of this once fruitful country." 
In wet seasons, however, their condition differed very much from this 
description. A writer, who lived near Kyme Fen in the early part 
of the last century, describing Holland Fen, says that, previous to 
the improvement of the Witham and the making of the Grand Sluice, 
he had, " times out of number, seen cows loosed out of their hovels 
and swim across the water with nothing but their faces and horns 
above the surface, and then take footing at mid-rib-deep, but not 
one spot of dry land, and then forage till weary and return to their 
hovels by swimming. No place was more famous for this than 
Chapel Hill, inaccessible, but by boat or riding horse belly-deep, and 
more in water than mud. I have also known in the whole parish 
of Dogdyke, not two houses communicable for whole winters round, 
and sometimes scarcely in summer. Sheep used to be carried to 
pasture in flat bottomed boats. Clip them in the boat and after- 
wards fetch them away in the same conveyance." 

The road which ran from the high country to Boston, through 
the West Fen, and known as the Nordyke and Hilldyke Causeway, 
was only distinguished from the surrounding marshes by rows of 
willows and was frequently covered over a great part of its length by 
water. In places there were swamps, which being quite impassable 
by strangers, guides, who moved about on stilts, were employed to 
take persons across. 
Clarke's Mr. Clarke in his Fen Sketches quotes from a pamphlet called 

Fen Sketches. the ^ n n.p ro j ec t ort written about 1606, in the time of James I, 
" The Undertakers have always vilified the Fens and misinformed 
many parliamentary men that all the fen is a mere quagmire, and 
that it is a level hurtfully surrounded and of little or no value. But 
those who live in the Fens, and are neighbours to it know the 
contrary ; for first, the Fens breed infinite numbers of serviceable 
horses, mares and colts, which till our land and furnish our neigh- 
bours. Seco ndly, we breed and feed great store of young cattle and 
we keep great dairies, which afford great store of butter and cheese 
to victual the navy. Multitudes of heifers and Scots and Irish 
cattle have been fatted on the Fens, which afford hides and tallow. 
Thirdly, we mow off our Fen fodder, which feeds our cows in 
winter, which being housed, we gather such quantities of compost 
and dung that it enriches our pastures and corn ground, half in half, 
whereby we have the richest and certainest corn land in England, 



35 

especially for wheat and barley, wherewith by sea we do and can 
abundantly provide London and the northern parts in these necessi- 
ties. Fourth, we keep great flocks of sheep upon the fens. 
Fifth, our fens are a great relief not only to our neighbours, the 
uplanders, but remote countries in which otherwise some years 
thousands of cattle would want food. Sixth, we have great store of 
osier, reed and sedge, which are such necessaries as the countries 
cannot name them for many uses, and sets many poor on work. 
Lastly.we have many thousand cottagers which live in our fens, 
which otherwise must go a begging." 

The arguments for and against reclamation were thus expressed 
in a pamphlet published at the time. It was said that the Fens were 
" nurseries and seminaries" offish and fowl, which would be destroyed 
by the drainage ; that the sedge, turf and reed would likewise be 
destroyed, and that many thousands of people then gained their 
livelihood by fishing and fowling in the fens, while the turf furnished 
fuel for the poor. The answer to this was that a tame sheep was 
better than a wild duck ; and a good fat ox than a well grown eel ; 
that the sedge would be replaced by good grass and grain, and that 
a man would not have any cause to complain who had a suit of 
buckram taken from him and one of velvet given instead. 

In addition to the opposition of the natives, other agencies were 
brought to bear against the fen Drainers. Satirical poems and 
ballads were composed and sung with great applause in the fen 
towns, and their cause was even advocated by men of learning and 
social standing. Amongst others, Fuller, in his history, speaks of 
the attempted enclosure of the fens as a trespass on the divine 
prerogative for man to presume to give other bounds to the water 
than that which God had appointed ; and he intimates that Provi- 
dence had specially left this district for the production of fish and 
fowl, and of sedge, turf and reeds. 

In isolated spots, scattered over the low, flooded fen part, lived 
the Fen Slodgers, the half amphibious beings described by Macaulay, 
who got their living by fishing and fowling. These men lived in huts, Smiles , 
erected on the mounds scattered amongst the chain of lakes, which £«'»« * i °f ers the 
were bordered with a thick crop of reeds, their only way of access 
to one another, and of communication with the towns or villages near, 
being by means of small boats or canoes, which they paddled along 
with a pole, and also used in their fishing and fowling expeditions. 
These men were violently opposed to any attempts to alter the 
state of the Fens, believing they had a kind of vested interest in the 
fishing and fowling, by which they gained their scanty subsistence. 
Although their condition was very miserable, they nevertheless 
enjoyed a sort of wild liberty amidst the watery wastes, which they 
were not disposed to give up. Though they might alternately burn 
and shiver with ague, and become prematurely bowed and twisted 



THE 

FEN SLODGERS. 



THE PEN CODE 

1646. 



36 

with rheumatism, still the fen was their native land, such as it 
was, and their only source of subsistence, precarious though it might 
be. The fens were their commons, on which their geese grazed. 
They furnished them with food, though the finding thereof was full 
of adventure and hazard. What cared the Fenmen for the drowning 
of the land? Did not the water bring them fish, and the fish 
attract wild fowl, which they could snare and shoot ? Thus the 
proposal to drain the fens and convert them into wholesome and 
fruitful lands, however important in a national point of view, as 
enlarging the resources and increasing the wealth of the country, 
had no attraction whatever in the eyes of the Slodgers. They 
muttered their discontent, and every where met the reclaimers with 
opposition, and frequently assembled to fill up the cuts which the 
labourers had dug, and to pull down the banks which they had 
constructed ; and to such an extent was this carried that in some 
places the men had frequently to work under the protection of an 
armed guard. But their numbers were too few, and they were too 
widely scattered to make any combined effort at resistance. 

In the general management of the Fens, so early as the reign 
of Edward VI, a code of fen laws had been enacted for defining the 
rights and privileges of the commoners, and for the prevention of 
disputes and robbery. The code, drawn up by the Council of the 
Duchy of Lancaster at the Great Inquest of the Soke of Boling- 
broke, held in 1548, was confirmed in Queen Elizabeth's reign, 
(1573), and remained in force until the enclosure of the Fens at the 
Thompson's beginning of the present century. The code consisted of seventy- 
two articles, a short summary of which may be interesting, as 
affording an insight into a state of society now passed away for ever. 
One of the first rules related to the brands or marks which 
each person who stocked the fens was required to place upon his cattle. 
Each parish had a separate mark and no man was allowed to turn 
cattle out to common until they were marked with the town brand. 
The illustration on the next page shows the character of some of 
these brands. 

No foreigner, or person not having common right, was allowed 
to put cattle on the fens, under a penalty of forty shillings; fish or 
fowl at any time; or gather any turbary or fodder in the East Fen, 

without a licence from the approver, under a penalty for each 

offence. Penalties were also attached to the following offences : 
putting diseased cattle on the fens ; disturbing the cattle by baiting 
with savage dogs ; for leaving any dead animal unburied for more 
than three days ; for putting swine on the fen, unrung, or geese 
which were not pinioned and foot-marked; for taking or leaving 
dogs there after sunset ; for bringing up crane birds out of the 
East Fen. Rams were not allowed to be kept in the Fen between 
St. Luke's day and Lammas. No person was allowed to gather 



Boston, and old 

MS 



37 

wool who was above twelve years of age, except impotent 
persons ; no cattle were to be driven out of the fens, except between 
sunrise and sunset ; and no cattle were to be driven out of the fens 
during divine service upon the sabbath, or holy days ; all cattle 
were to be ' roided ' or • voided ' out of the East Fen before St. 
Barnaby's day, yearly ; no reed thatch, reed star, or bolt was to be 
mown before it was of two years' growth ; each sheaf of hatch 
gathered or bound up was to be a yard in compass ; wythes were 
only to be cut between Michaelmas and May-day ; no man was 
allowed to ' rate ' any hemp or flax in the common sewers or drains. 

Fit?S 

7Tufarm+ or faj^uon ef tho sever all mjtrht or 
jBncvruU belonging to eeioA Towne i*. Wl* 
SdaAv <J Jhiuutfhrookv % Eaot Holland.. 



JS.asioTV. 


1 


Steeping. 


h 


jShirbeck). 


V 


Thorpe^ 


X 


Tishtoft. 


m 


Spitfhij. 


s 


Frieebotv. 


\ 


Saithby. 


* 


Bidtermdct 


* 


Hundleby 


I 


Bennington. 


? 


JSuUingbjtni 


»JT 


Zevj&rtoib. 


A 


Zusby. 


Y 


LjeaJce/. 


ft 


Enderby 


R 


Sibsey. 


X 


AsgarJby. 


;0k 


jStickney. 


X 


MaArhy. 


ir 


SticMoTd/. 


X 


MimMiysby. 


A 


INeelKedU'. 





Jteveeby. 


ft 


EastKeala 


+ 


ILaetKvrkhy 


ft. 


Toyntons 


X 


Jfaynaby. 


$ 


M<Mon: 


H 







By an order, passed in Queen Elizabeth's reign, every township 
in the parts of Holland, claiming common in the West Fen, was 
ordered to show to the Queen's steward, at the next court-day, its 
charter or title to such common right. No swans', cranes', or bitterns' 
eg^s, or any eggs excepting those of ducks and geese, were allowed 
to be brought out of the fens. No fodder was to be mown in the 
East or West Fen before Midsummer-day annually. No person 
was allowed to use any sort of net or other engine to take or kill 
any fowl, commonly called moulted ducks, in any of the fens, before 
Midsummer-day, yearly. A code of seventeen articles was also 
devised by the fishermen's jury, relative to the fish and fishing in 
the fens. The principal fish referred to were pike, eels, roach and 



WITHAM ACT, 



38 

perch. The laws 'related chiefly to the kind of nets allowed and 
to the manner of using them. 

Before being sent into the common fen, the live stock were collected 
at certain defined places and marked, and again, on being taken off 
in the autumn, they were brought to the same place to be claimed 
by their owners. Thus in Pinchbeck the stock were collected at 
the Market Cross and a due called Hoven was paid. Bailiffs 
were appointed to look after the stock. On the marshes in South 
Holland a Marsh Reeve was also annually appointed, and a 
Marsh Shepherd, their wages being paid by a rate of is. 6d. for each 
horse and neat beast, and 3d. for each sheep, grazed on the commons. 
The Fens remained in the condition described until the year 
1762, when an Act was obtained for the improvement of the low 
lands on the Witham. The Witham was straightened and 
deepened, the Grand Sluice at Boston erected and the fens drained 
and reclaimed. The Witham Act was followed by one for the 
better drainage and reclamation of Holland Fen, and of the Black 
Sluice District, in 1765. The Act for the enclosure of the East 
and West Fens was passed in 1801, and for Deeping Fen about the 
same time. The works carried out under these Acts will be 
described in the following chapters. 
high tides Even after these works had been carried out the country was 

still subjected to severe losses from floods and high tides. At the 
end of the last and the beginning of the present century, several 
very high tides occurred which did much damage. On January 
1st, 1779, a heavy gale of wind caused the tide to flow unusually 
high, to the damage of Boston and the neighbourhood. On 
October 19th, 1801, and on November 30th, 1807, high tides 
occurred, which flowed so high as to deluge the streets of Boston 
and to inundate the houses. Indeed the latter tide caused the water 
to rise so high as to enter the church and flow as far as the pulpit. 
The extraordinary high tide of November 10th, 1810, was 
attended by the most calamitous results, caused by breaches of 
the sea banks in several places along the coast. Particulars as to 
the damage caused by this tide will be found in the chapter on 
North Holland. In 1815, a very high tide again flowed over the 
banks in some places and did a great deal of injury. In March, 
1820, there was a high tide, which rose 4 inches higher than the 
tide of 1 810. This tide is the highest on record. It proved 
disastrous to the private banks enclosing the out-marshes from 
Butterwick to Wainfleet. The highest tide in recent years was in 
1883. It rose at Boston to within four inches of that of 1810. 
The wind had been previously blowing strongly from the North- 
West, and this, occuring during equinoctial spring tides, caused the 
water to rise four feet three inches above the ordinary height of a 
spring tide. The low parts of Boston were flooded. The river 



AND STORMS. 



TIDE OFISBa. 



preservation 
of SEA BANKS. 



RABBITS. 



39 

banks in Boston Haven, and on the river Welland, had breaches 
made in them in several places, but as these only protected modern 
enclosures, the flooding of the land and damage was confined to a 
comparatively small area. 

By so precarious a tenure is the fen land held, and so great is 
the necessity for constant and unremitting vigilance and care, that 
with the least neglect, only, perhaps, an unseen rat hole, the waving 
corn fields maybe turned into a sea of water. ' So important has every- 
thing that is conducive to the preservation of these banks been 
deemed by the Legislature of the country, that, in an Act passed for 
the preservation of Fish in Ponds and Conks in Warrens, in 1765, 5 e ' I76s '. 
it was enacted that the provisions as to rabbits should not extend to 
the fen banks, the exempting clause reciting that " Whereas great 
mischief has been, and still may be, occasioned by the increase of 
conies upon the sea and river banks in the County of Lincoln, or 
upon the land or ground within a certain distance from the said 
banks ; for remedy thereof be it enacted that nothing in this Act 
contained shall extend to prevent any person from killing and 
destroying, or from taking or carrying away in the day time any 
conies that shall be found on any sea or river banks, erected, or to be 
erected, for the preservation of the adjoining lands from being over- 
flowed by the sea or river waters, so far as the flux and reflux of 
the tide does extend, or upon any land within one furlong distance 
of such banks, but that it shall be lawful for any person to enter 
upon any such banks, land or ground, as aforesaid, within the County 
of Lincoln, and to kill, destroy, and carry away in the day time, to 
his or their own use, any conies so found upon any such, doing as 
little damage as may be to the owner or tenant." 

This Act was repealed by the 7 & 8, Geo. II, c 27, but a 24 & 2; Vict., 
similar clause was re-enacted in the 24 & 25 Vict., c. 96, sec. 17, 
which runs as follows : — " Provided that nothing in this section 
contained shall affect any person taking or killing in the day time 
any rabbits on any sea bank or river bank in the County of Lincoln 
so far as the tide shall extend or within one furlong of such bank." 

It is also forbidden under the laws of the Court of Sewers to 
keep rabbits anywhere near the banks. Thus, by an order of the 
Court, sitting at Boston, made in 1750, two occupiers of land at Minutes. 

_ . ,,.,,. , ,, Court of Sewers. 

Freiston were presented, as keeping rabbits so near the sea bank as jth July, 1750. 
to do damage thereto, and were ordered to destroy the rabbits and 
restore the damage done to the bank, under a penalty of ^"io. 

In the Deeping Fen Act of 1856, a penalty of 40/- is provided ''^i. 0, 65 ' 
for any person who shall be convicted of knowingly permitting any 
rabbits or geese to be upon any of the banks or forelands belonging 
to Deeping Fen. It is also forbidden that horses or cattle should be 
allowed to go on to the banks, and orders have been made to this Minutes. 
effect, from time to time, A presentment having been made that cer- Jan., 181I r 



HORSES ON 

THE BANKS. 



PENALTY FOR 
DAMAGING SEA 



40 

Minutes. tain banks had been damaged by horses and carts using the same, the 
MarPaotlTis™! dykereeves were ordered to put up stop gates, to prevent this. The 
laws, even in olden times, were very stringent as to the preservation 
of the banks. Swine were not allowed to go upon them, unless 
they were ringed, under a penalty of one penny — equal to a shilling 
of our money. In case of a breach, the Sheriff was authorised to 
impress diggers and labourers for repairing the embankments. A 
terrible penalty for neglect is mentioned by Harrison, in his preface 
to Hollinshed's Chronicle, who says, that " such as having walls or 
banks near unto the sea, and do suffer the same to decay, after 
convenient admonition, whereby the water entereth and drowneth 
up the country, are by a certain ancient custom apprehended, 
condemned, and staked in the breach, where they remain for ever a 
parcel of the new wall that is to be made upon them, as I have heard 
reported." 

Yet important as the preservation of these ramparts is to the 
security of the country, perhaps little thought is given by the 
occupier of the land as he pursues his daily calling, as to how much 
he owes to these works of the ancient Romans. Custom makes all 
things common ; and yet when the danger comes the sturdy inde- 
pendence and self-help, so characteristic of the Fenmen, is called 
forth to the fullest extent. 

" No one has ever seen a fen bank break without honouring 
the stern quiet temper which there is in the fen men, when the 
north-easter is blowing above, the spring tide roaring outside, the 
brimming tide-way lapping up to the dyke top, or flying over in 
sheets of spray ; when round the one fatal thread which is trickling 
over the dyke, or worse, through some forgotten rat hole in its side, 
hundreds of men are clustered, without tumult, without complaint, 
marshalled under their employers, fighting the brute powers of 
nature, not for their employer's sake alone, but for the sake of their 
own year's labour, and their own year's bread. The sheep have 
been driven off the land below : the cattle stand, ranged shivering 
on high dykes inland : they will be saved in punts, if the worst be- 
fall, but a hundred spades, wielded by practised hands, cannot stop 
that tiny rat hole. The trickle becomes a rush, the rush a roaring 
waterfall. The dyke top trembles — gives. The men make efforts, 
desperate, dangerous, as of sailors in a wreck, with faggots, hurdles, 
sedge, turf; but the bank will break, and slowly they draw off, sullen, 
but uncomplaining ; beaten but not conquered. A new cry rises 
among them. Up, to save yonder sluice; that will save yonder lode; 
that again yonder farm ; that again some other lode, some other farm, 
far back inland, but guessed at instantly by men who have studied 
from their youth, as the necessity of their existence, the labyrinthine 
drainage of lands which are all below the water level, and where 
the inner lands in many cases are lower still than those outside. 



C. Kingsley. 



4 1 

" So they hurry away to the nearest farms ; the teams are 
harnessed, the waggons filled, and drawn down and emptied ; the 
beer cans go round cheerily, and the men work with a sort of savage 
joy at being able to do something, if not all, and stop the sluice on 
which so much depends. As for the outer land, it is gone past hope ; 
through the breach pours a roaring salt cataract, digging out a hole 
on the inside of the bank, which remains as a deep sullen pond for 
years to come. Hundreds, thousands of pounds are lost already, 
past all hope. Be it so, then. At the next neap tide perhaps they 
will be able to mend the dyke, and pump the water out ; and begin 
again, beaten but not conquered, the same everlasting fight with 
wind and wave which their forefathers have waged for now 1800 
years." 

Another telling description of the breaking of a bank in the 
Fens will be found in George Manville Fen's Dick 0' the Fens. 
in which the fen scenery and surroundings are very vividly and truth- 
fully described. 

The principle on which the drainage of the Fens was originally 
designed was that of gravitation, but, as in process of time the peat 
subsided, it became necessary to supplement this by steam power. 
Further details of the works of drainage, and of the constitution of 
the various Commissions which have the control over them, will be 
given in connection with the history of each Level. The reclama- 
tion of the Fens, and their present wonderfully fertile condition, is due 
to the ingenuity and perseverance of their inhabitants, aided by the engineers 
skill of the most talented engineers who have lived during the last * fens 
hundred years. During this period nearly every engineer of 
eminence has left his mark on some part of this great level, but pro- 
minently above all stands the name of John Rennie. Smeaton, the 
engineer of the Eddystone Lighthouse ; Telford, the great 
road maker and bridge builder ; Labelye, the designer of the 
old Westminster Bridge ; Mylne, the builder of old Blackfriars 
Bridge ; Cubitt, Brunei, Walker, Robert Stephenson, Hawkesley, 
Hawkshaw and Coode, have all been called in at various times ; and 
even now it is only by the constant and vigilant attention of skilled 
men that the Fens are preserved. The ruin and devastation, the long 
and costly litigation, and the ultimate heavy tax on the land, caused 
by the Middle Level inundation in Norfolk, is a sad instance of the 
serious consequences arising from neglect, and shows how depend- 
ent is the preservation of the land on the skill and attention of the 
engineer. 

The change that has come over the Fenland is thus vividly de- 
scribed by a modern writer. " The Fens, upon which our Danish 
fore-elders looked from their upland homes, and into which perhaps streatfeiid's 
they sometimes descended for purposes of plunder, are no more. ^"thcDant^ 
The vast mere, studded with the island homes of English Colonists 



FEN DRAINAGE. 



CHAPTER 13. 



GAGED IN THE 



THE FENLAND 
BEFORE AND 

AFTER RECLAM- 
ATION. 



42 

which stretched from Horncastle and Spilsby to Ramsey and Hun- 
tingdon has disappeared, and given place to one of the richest 
agricultural districts in England. As we contemplate the never 
ending fields of corn, and mustard, and potato in our railway jour- 
ney from Huntingdon to Firsby, we can scarcely repress a sigh 
after the beds of osier and sedge, which were so much more 
natural, if far less profitable. We, perhaps, confess that things are 
better as they are ; yet we cannot dissemble our regret at the 
change. Gladly would we recall the water fowl that have taken 
their flight from these regions, never to return, save in the form of a 
rare and occasional visitant, coming, we may fancy, as the repre- 
sentative of an exiled race, to weep over the progress of the plough, 
and then too often -to be ruthlessly butchered by the gun : an 
abomination of desolation unknown to the swans and ruffs and 
oyster-catchers of happier days, when bird-stuffers and museums 
were as yet unknown. Again, as we picture to ourselves the lovely 
insects, which, after swarming for ages amid the willows and water 
plants of Lincolnshire, have become lost, not only to the county 
but to England, within the memory of living man ; or when in some 
rich herbarium we examine the faded specimens of aquatic plants, 
whose place in the British Isles knows them now no more, how can 
we help longing to look out upon the scene that met the eye of 
Asgeir, Askr, and Hundolf, as they gazed from their new abodes 
over Stickenai, and Sibolsey to Botulfston and Swinesheafod be- 
yond ? But while much, very much, has gone and much more is 
going, it is a thought full of interest that so many natural objects 
remain to connect the present with the past. As we gather the 
wayside flowers there is pleasure in recollecting that they are sprung 
from those which Britons, Romans, Saxons, and Danes have plucked 
before us. As we wander through the woods that still remain, is 
there no interest in the thought that where the Englishman now shoots 
the rabbit and the pheasant, our rude forefathers hunted the wild 
boar and waged hereditary warfare on the wolf ? It may be mere 
sentiment, but as we hear the shrill whistle of the curlew, or watch 
the marshalled ranks of wild geese, as they fly from the salt marsh 
to the Wolds we find pleasure in the remembrance that Geirmund 
and Ulfric saw the same sights a thousand years ago. It may be 
mere sentiment, yet it is sentiment springing from the loving 
sympathy that knits one generation to another, and that forms a 
bond between man and the world of nature that ministers to his 
wants." 



43 



CHAPTER II. 

The Origin and Constitution of the Court of Sewers. 

UNTIL the reign of Henry the VIII, the watercourses and sea 
banks of the country may be said to have been without any 
special protection, and great loss was frequently incurred by the 
eruption of the tides through neglected banks, and by the flooding 
of the country, owing to obstructions in the rivers caused either by 
accumulation of deposit, or by weirs and mill dams placed across 
them by persons for their own profit and advantage. The difficulty 
and uncertainty of obtaining redress by proceedings at common law 
led generally to an appeal to the King, for " our ancient monarchs 
were much interested in preserving their dominions from the 
ravages of the sea, and their subjects were as careful to second 
their designs by keeping up a system of drainage. Accordingly, on 
the one hand, it is to be found in our legal history, that it was not 
only the custom of the Kings of England, but their duty also, to 
save and defend the realm against the sea, as well as against 
enemies, so that it should neither be drowned nor wasted ; and, on 
the other, that to stop the water channels which were made from 
time to time, for public or private convenience, was a grievous 
offence punishable by action or indictment, according to the nature 
of the wrong ; that it was held that the King's subjects ought by 
the common law to have their passage through the realm by bridges 
and highways in safety ; so that if the sea walls were broken, or the 
sewers and gutters not secured, that the fresh waters might have 
their direct course, the King was empowered to grant a commission 
to enquire into and hear and determine the defaults." Again, 
Fitzherbert says, that " Royal Commissions were granted when the 
sea walls were broken, or when the sewers and gutters were in need 
of repairs so that the fresh waters could not have their courses ; and 
that the Commissions in question issued, because the King was 
bound of right so to keep his kingdom against the sea, as that it 
were not drowned, or wasted, and also to provide that his subjects 
should pass through the kingdom with safety." 

By Magna Charta it was provided that no town, nor freeman, 
should be distrained to make bridges or banks, but such as of old 
time and of right had been accustomed to do so. By which it 



DUTIES 
OF THE CROWN 
WITH REGARD 

TO RIVERS AND 

DRAINS. 



Callis. 



Woolrych*s 
Law of Sewers. 



44 



EARLY COM- 
MISSIONERS < 



6HenryVI,C5. 
1428. 



THE BILL OP 
SEWERS* 

23 Henry VIII, 
C3. 1531. 



3 & 4 William 
IV, C 22. 1S33. 



appears that the maintaining of the sea defences had been considered 
a special grievance by those who had been distrained for their 
repairs. 

The Commissions, issued by the King, consisted of two or 
more persons holding either a judicial position in the kingdom, or of 
considerable standing, who were directed to visit the locality and to 
hear all complaints, and had power to levy fines and make orders 
for the necessary works to be done for repairing and maintaining the 
sea banks, and cleansing and keeping open the sewers. They were 
issued by virture of the King's prerogative at common law, until 
the reign of Henry VI, when it was enacted by Parliament that, 
considering the great damage and losses which had happened by 
the great inundation of waters in divers parts of the realm — Lin- 
colnshire being particularly mentioned — and that much greater 
damage would be likely to ensue if remedy were not speedily pro- 
vided, that during the ten years next ensuing several Commissions 
of Sewers should be made to divers persons by the Chancellor of 
England for the time being, who were to enquire as to the defaulters 
to repair the sea banks, and make such orders as they deemed 
necessary, with power to fine and distrain those who refused to obey 
them. 

These Commissions were renewed by succeeding Parlia- 
ments until the sixth year of Henry the VIII, when they were 
declared to endure for ever, and the Chancellorwas invested with per- 
petual authority to grant such Commissions wherever need should 
require. This Act was incorporated with another, passed in the 23rd 
year of the same reign, called The Bill of Sewers, in which all the 
former enactments were contained ; and although some alterations 
and additions were made in the reigns of Edward VI and Queen 
Elizabeth, yet the Act passed in the reign of Henry VIII still con- 
tinues as the chief structure on which the powers and duties of 
Commissions of Sewers have been reared. In the reign of William 
IV several alterations were made in the original enactment, to 
adapt its working to modern times ; but the principle of its 
original constitution remained unaltered. 

The purpose for which the Court was created was the preser- 
vation of marsh and low lands, the maintenance of the sea 
banks and other defences, and the removal of impediments and 
obstructions made in the streams or sewers by the erection of mills 
mill-dams, weirs, gates, &c. It was invested with jurisdiction over 
" all walls, fences, ditches, banks, gutters, gates, sewers, callies, 
ponds, bridges, rivers, streams, water courses, &c." 

The word Sewer in modern times has a much more restricted, 
if not different, meaning attached to it than that originally intended. 
The word is now invariably associated with the disposal of the 
refuse water from dwelling houses and towns ; whereas formerly, it 



45 

was applied to water courses and streams in general. Authorities 
differ as to the derivation of the word, the opinion of Sergeant 
Callis, the great authority on the Law of Sewers, being that it was 
the diminutive of a river. Others tracing it to a corruption of the 
word issue ; or seoir, to sit, and eau, water ; or to the words sea 
and mere. 

The word Gov't, Gote, Goyt, or Goat, which is of frequent 
occurence and may also be considered as peculiar to fens 
and marshes, is used to express a construction in connection 
with drainage, as for instance, Anton's Gowt, Slippery Gowt. The 
word is derived from the Saxon, and is defined by Callis to be " an 
engine erected and built with percullesses and doors of timber, 
stone, or brick." Its use is said by the same authority to be two- 
fold : the first to cause fresh water which has descended on low 
grounds to be let out through them into some creek of the sea ; 
and the second, to return back salt water direct, which during some 
great floods of the sea may have flowed in upon the land. These 
structures are now generally known as Sluices, and consist of a 
culvert passing through a bank, and provided with doors which 
allow the inland water to flow out and prevent the river or sea water 
from flowing in and flooding the land inside the bank. 

Romney Marsh, a tract of land in the county of Kent, possesses 
the distinction of having first drawn up any definite rules for the guid- 
ance of Commissions of Sewers, which formed a precedent for 
the custom of all other fens and marshes. Nearly all the Commis- 
sions, and even the statute of Henry VIII, direct that the laws and 
customs of the Commissioners are to be made after the " laws and 
customs of Romney Marsh." Thus also, at the building of the 
Grand Sluice at Boston, by May Hake, in the reign of Henry VII, 
assessment was made to raise the money, and the same was 
ordered to be levied " according to the laws of Romney Marsh," 
whence also were derived the offices of Bailiff, Jurats, and 
Levellers. These laws were drawn up by Sir Henry de Bathe, a 
judge in the reign of Henry III ; and Lord Coke observed, " that 
not only those parts of Kent, but all England receive light and 
direction from those laws." 

The banks and sewers of Romney Marsh were originally placed 
under the care of 24 Jurats or Marshmen, chosen by the commoners, 
and sworn to do their duty. Their origin and powers were derived 
from a charter which had been granted by the King. These 
powers not being well defined, and opposition having arisen as to 
the order made, Sir Henry de Bathe and two other Commissioners 
were empowered by King Henry III to enquire into the matter. At 
the request of the Council of the Commonalty of the Marsh, these Com- 
missioners made and constituted six ordinances for the future good 
management of the Marsh, of which the following is a summary : — 



THE LAWS OF 
ROMNEY MARSH. 



THE COURT OF 

SEWERS. 



46 

i. Twelve men were to be chosen, who, after being sworn, were to 
measure the sea banks, the measure being the perch of' 20 feet. 
By the same measure all the land and tenements subject to 
danger in the level were also to be measured. This being done, 
the 24 existing Jurats were to set off the several portions along 
the bank, and to appoint to every owner his share, which he 
should be bound to repair according to the proportion of acres 
subject to danger. 

2. On danger of a breach of the banks, the Jurats were to meet 
together and view the banks, and determine to whom the defence 
of the same should be assigned. 

3. The Bailiff of the Marsh was then to give notice to the persons 
liable to do the work within the time assigned by the Jurats ; 
and on default of their doing as ordered, the Bailiff was to make 
good the repairs, and the defaulter to be called upon to pay 
double the charge incurred ; the sum to be recoverable by a 
distress on lands situate within the marsh. 

4. When land was held in partnership, the Jurats were to deter- 
mine the portion to be repaired by each partner, and in default 
of any one partner to do the work assigned to him, the work 
was to be done by the other partner, who would hold the land 
of the defaulter till double the cost incurred was repaid. 

5. In case of all the partners being negligent, then the Bailiff was to 
do the work, and recover double the cost, by distraint if 
necessary. 

6. That all the lands in the level should be kept and maintained 
against the violence of the sea, and the floods of the fresh waters, 
with banks and sewers, by the oath and consideration of 24 
Jurats, at the least, for their preservation, as anciently had been 
the custom. 

At a subsequent Commission, issued by King Edward I, it 
was ordered that the Bailiff of the Level should be elected " by the 
lords of the towns lying therein or their attornies," and that the 
Bailiff so chosen should be a person residing and having lands in 
the level. 

In spite of these ordinances the maintenance of the banks was 
continually neglected, and floods occurred ; those who were most 
disposed to do the work knowing that, by the carelessness and 
neglect of their neighbours, their own lands were still liable to be 
drowned. 

Notices of several of the Commissions issued by the Crown 
from time to time, for the purpose of preserving the sea banks in 
Lincolnshire, and for keeping open the various sewers and water- 
courses and maintaining the gates and sea defences, have been 
already given in the introductory chapter. It is therefore unnecessary 
to refer to them again. 



47 

The Court of Sewers, as now constituted, consists of persons 
holding freehold property in any part of the county to which the 
Commission belongs, and who have qualified themselves by taking 
the necessary oaths. 

Persons qualified must, by the Act of William IV, be in 
possession of property in the county in which they shall act as 
Commissioners, in their own right or that of their wives, of the yearly 
value of /"ioo ; or of lands held for a term of years of the clear 
yearly value of /"200 ; or be heirs apparent to a person possessed of 
freehold property of the clear value of ^"200 ; or a leaseholder of an 
estate for 21 years, of which 10 years are unexpired, of the yearly 
value of ^"200 ; or the agent of qualified persons or bodies corporate 
holding freehold property of the yearly value of /300. Every 
Commissioner before he can act must take an oath in the form 
set out in the statute of Henry VIII, to perform his 
duties faithfully, and also as to his proper qualification. The 
Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of a Corporate town within the 
Level to which the Commission relates are ex-officio members of 
the Court. 

It will be observed that the word Court is used. The pro- 
ceedings are not purely ministerial, but are judicial, and, as Callis 
observes, " their Court is one of record, and an eminent Court of 
record," and so Lord Coke, when writing of courts, enumerates 
among them " The Court of Commissioners of Sewers." 

In former times the Commissions only lasted for ten years, or 
until the demise of the reigning sovereign. The commission is now, 
by the provisions of 24 & 25 Vict. c. 133, a perpetual body, fresh 
members being added when necessary by an application made by the 
Court to the Lord Chancellor. 

The Court may meet at such times as its members think fit, but 
ten days notice of the intended meeting must be given by advertise- 
ment in a newspaper of the county. Emergency meetings may be 
held on the requisition of the Clerk and two members of the Court - 
Throe members form a Court, except when the construction of new 
works is under consideration, when six are required, and at each 
meeting those present elect their chairman. A payment of 4s. is 
allowed to each member who attends the Court, to cover his 
expenses. 

The Court has power to direct the sheriff to summon a jury 
" to enquire of or concerning any of the matters and things 
authorised and directed to be enquired into, under any of the Acts 
and Laws of Sewers of old time accustomed, and to administer oaths 
to such jury." 

The first duty of a new Commission was to summon a jury, 
who were to make a presentment as to the persons liable to main- 
tain and repair, or to contribute towards the repair and maintenance 



4 8 

of all defences, banks, and other works under their jurisdiction ; and 
the verdict of such jury, once made, held good during the whole time 
of the existence of the Commission. 

The Commissioners have power to levy rates, as occasion may 
require, for every distinct level, valley, or district ; and to appoint 
any surveyors, collectors, treasurers, and other officers for such 
district:. This is the wording of the Act, but the ordinary course of 
proceeding in this district is for each parish to appoint two officers, 
called Dykereeves, to lay and collect the necessary rates and 
maintain the banks and sewers, — and these appointments, and all that 
relates to them, are subject to the approval of the Court'. The 
Dykereeves present their accounts to the vestry of the parish, at 
Easter. For the general expenses of the Court a call is made on 
the dykereeves of the several parishes, in proportion to the amount at 
which the parish is assessed to the rate. Surveyors are appointed 
by the Court itself, who have the general supervision of the works, 
and, when defects exist, their duty is to make a presentment to the 
Court, which then orders the Dykereeves of the parishes, in which the 
work is situated, at once to amend and repair the same and to levy 
rates for payment of the cost. 
riding juries. In the Kirton and Skirbeck Wapentakes, a Riding Jury used 

annually to make an inspection of the sea banks and works of 

Court of Sewers . J r 

Minutes,24june, drainage, and report to the Court as to any detects. They were 

i8i6toJuly,i8i8. ,, j j r u u- j ■ ^ ■ 

allowed 10s. per day tor horse hire and expenses in their own 
wapentake, and 14s., if they attended out of it. By an order of 
Court made in 18 18, Dykereeves and Jurors were allowed sums 
varying from 4s.6d. to 6s., for their expenses at the Court, accordingto 
the distance of their parish therefrom. 

It has been held that the persons liable to be rated to the 
Sewers' rates are those whose property, situate within the Commis- 
sion derives benefit or avoids danger from the execution of the 
works, and that this principle was affirmed by the Act of Henry 
VIII, and has been preserved in all subsequent statutes ; and there- 
fore the rate is leviable according to the value of the property, and 
not according to its superficial extent, houses and similar property 
being therefore rateable. 

The practice has, however, always been in this district, up to 
Court of sewers, recent times, to make the rate an acre rate. In 1883, when some 
considerable repairs were required to the bank in Skirbeck Quarter, 
Counsel's opinion was taken as to whether the rate ought to be levied 
on the assessment of the several parishes over which the charge was 
spread, instead of making it an acre rate, and on this opinion the 
Dykereeves were ordered to have the rate made on the assessment. 

In carrying out works, the Commissioners are bound to have 
the same executed in a skilful manner and to take all reasonable 
precautions to prevent damage being done to other persons. It has 



PROPERTY 
LIABLE TO HATES 



23 April, 1884. 



LIABILITIES OF 
THE COM MIS- 
SIONS RS. 



49 

been held that even where Commissioners are a public body, bound 
to discharge a public duty without reward and without funds, they 
are liable for the negligence of those whom they employ. This was 
decided in the celebrated case of the failure of the Middle Level 
Sluice and consequent inundation, [Coe v. Wise). The employ- 
ment of a competent contractor will not free the Commissioners 
from liability, but they must be able to show that the work was 
skilfully designed and carried out under the direction of a qualified 
superintendent, and that there was no negligence. 

The obligation to maintain the sea banks was originally on ownership 
those whose lands adjoin the sea, and this was called the Custom of *~° e ";"' "' 
Frontagers. This duty can only be put off by showing that some SEA B »~ Ks - 
other persons are bound by prescription, or otherwise. This obliga- 
tion attaches to some lands by the nature of their tenure, although 
such lands may not be near the sea. The difficulty, however, of 
dealing with individual liabilities, when the safety of a whole Level 
depends on immediate action, has in some cases thrown the obliga- 
tion of repairs, by custom, on the whole township. A few instances 
still remain in this county in which individual proprietors are liable ; 
and in case such persons do not maintain the particular banks, 
sluices, or sewers for which they are liable, after seven days' notice 
from the surveyor or dikereeve, the court may order the same to be 
done, and the expenses can then be recovered by distress. 

At the time of the great tide of 1810, when the whole level was Boston Court of 
inundated, the Court of Sewers, sitting at Boston, submitted a case 1™ nIv./iSio. 8 
to Sergeant Lea and Mr. Dampier, two of the most eminent Counsel 
of that day, "as to whether the expense of repairing the breaches 
in the sea bank, and also of heightening and strengthening the 
banks is not chargeable upon the whole level, they being found 
insufficient in height for the defence of the country ; whether that 
expense must be borne by the parties only who are liable to the 
ordinary repairs thereof, and in particular how far the level can in 
the present instance be made to extend." The case was afterwards 
amended by an enquiry as to whether the Court had the power to 
charge the lands in the East Fen and the lowlands adjacent thereto, 
on extraordinary occasions, although those lands are in the Lindsey 
Division and on ordinary occasions under the jurisdiction of the 
Spilsby Court. 

Acting on the advice given by Counsel, the Court spread the 
charge over the whole level of the Wapentakes of Skirbeck and 
Kirton, the extent of land liable and the proportion in which the 
money required should be paid being settled by a jury for each 
Wapentake, summoned by the Sheriff, at the request of the Court, 
for that purpose. 

In 1883 on some extensive repairs being done to the bank in Boston Court of 
Skirbeck Quarter, which were deemed by the Court to be extraor- 18 Aug., 1883. 



5° 

dinary, and not such as persons by prescription could fairly be liable 

to, an order was made that the cost of the work of reparation be paid 

by the entire district which would be liable to be damaged by a breach. 

Orders have also been made by the Court setting aside the 

ORDERS MAKING ^ . . 

banks repair- individual liability of owners in certain parishes, and making the 

ABLE BY PARISH. rill i ill '1 T*l_ 

maintenance of the banks a charge on the whole parish. 1 hus, a 
Court of sewers, petition having been presented to the Court as to the method of 

Minutes. .. . i«i , -i- 1 i r* • 

March 19, 1818. repairing the sea banks m Algarkirk and Fosdyke, a Commission 
was appointed to view the banks and report. They made a present- 
ment to the following effect. That these banks were known as 
' best ' and ' worst ' banks and had been maintained on all ordin- 
ary occasions at the cost of the owners of land, in the proportion of 7 
feet of the best banks, and 1 foot of the worst, to every acre of land, 
and to every cottage having less than an acre attached thereto ; that 
by a verdict made in 1800 the proportion had been set out by 
boundary posts, but that these had all been displaced, owing to the works 
rendered necessary by the great tide of 1810 ; that by this system 
it was found very inconvenient and difficult to get repairs executed, 
and to enforce payment by the parties charged with the same ; 
and that it was desirable that the whole system should be changed, and 
that, for the future, on all ordinary occasions, the banks should be 
repaired by the landowners chargeable with the dykereeve rate, by 
an equal rate in proportion to their holdings, to which course also 
the Vestries of the parishes had offered no objection. The Court 
accordingly ordered that this presentment should be adopted and 
made a law of Sewers. 

As regards the ownership of of the^banks, Callis says, that " the 
ownership of a bank of the sea belongs to him whose grounds are 
next adjoining, according to the principle adopted concerning high- 
ways." This ownership, of course, is only a limited one. The 
freehold belongs to the frontager or other person entitled thereto, 
and all advantages and privileges, as the herbage of the bank, &c, 
are his ; but the Court of Sewers has complete control over the 
bank, and the owner cannot do any act to injure the safety or 
stability of the same. The custom with respect to the herbage of 
the banks is various. There can be no doubt that originally, where 
the frontager was liable to repair, this herbage naturally belonged 
to him ; but when this obligation of repair was shifted to the town- 
ship or parish, the privileges attaching, in most cases, went with it, 
as a means, partly, of defraying the expense of the maintenance of the 
banks. In many parishes the grass on the banks is regularly let, 
and the proceeds carried to the credit of the parish fund ; in others 
the banks have been treated as common or waste land and sold 
under Inclosure Awards ; while again, in other parishes the frontagers 
still continue to exercise this right. Custom has operated so long 
in each case as to have created a right. 



OWNERSHIP OF 
THE SEA BANKS. 



DAMAGE CAUSED 
' STORMS . 
HIGH Tl DE 



51 

A frontager liable for the repair of a sea bank, which is under 
the jurisdiction of the Court, can only be made to carry out reason- BV «™»» s *»■> 
able repairs, and is only liable for damage due to negligence on the 
part of himself or his predecessors. He cannot be held answerable 
for damage caused by extraordinary high tides, tempests, or floods. 
During an extraordinary storm and high tide which occurred in 
January, 1881, considerable damage was done to a sea wall in the 
Fobbing Level in Essex. The owner of the land repaired the sea bank, 
under an order of the Court of Sewers, and then sued the Court for the 
expenses incurred in so doing. Evidence was given to show that the 
owners of this land had, from time to time, repaired this bank ; and that, 

' ... Regma v. Com- 

about seven years previously, on an order of the Court, in common with misswners of 
other frontagers, they had raised the height of the bank. It was held Hng Level. 
that the evidence of these repairs did not make the owner of the land 
liable to a large and indefinite liability, such as that caused by ex- 
traordinary tides and floods, but only to damage due to ordinary 
causes and negligence. 

The Court of Sewers has not a general jurisdiction over all sea 
banks, simply because they are a means of defending the land from 
the invasion of the sea, but only over banks which have been placed 
specially under their control. A case bearing on this was tried at 
the Norfolk Summer Assizes of 1885, where an action was brought west Norfolk 
against an owner of land to recover damages for loss sustained from f£™" Vm 2°cli- 
the flowing of the tide through a gap in the bank, and, a nonsuit being dale - 

entered, this was appealed against in the Queen's Bench Division, in 
December 1885, and confirmed ; and, on being carried to the 
Court of Appeal, in the following March, it was again upheld. The 
facts of the case were as follows. The defendant in the. case was the 
owner of land near Lynn, abutting on the river Nar, at its junction 
with the Ouse. On this land was an old river bank, which was 
situated some distance back from the river, an outer bank having 
been erected at the same time nearer the river. The defendant, or 
his tenant, had for the purpose of his business, cut through this inner 
bank, and made a considerable opening in it. In March, 1883, 
there occurred an extraordinary high tide in the river Ouse, which 
was higher than any tide known within the memory of living man. 
The water poured through the opening and flooded the premises of 
the plaintiffs, doing very considerable damage. The plaintiffs con- 
tended (1) That the inner bank was an ancient bank, erected for the 
protection of the adjacent lands, which the owner of the land was 
bound to maintain for the benefit of the adjoining owners ; or at 
least to leave in an undamaged condition. (2) That the bank was 
vested in the Court of Sewers, and that, therefore, the a<ft of the 
defendant, on the authority of the case, Attorney General v. 
Tomline, in cutting through it was actionable. At the trial the 
Judge ruled that no sufficient evidence was given to connect the 



Hudson v. Tabor 



52 

defendant with the act complained of. The only evidence as to the 
liability to repair was that the tenant had previously done repairs, 
which was held to be insufficient. Upon the question of this bank's 
being under the control of the Court of Sewers, the evidence was also 
held to be insufficient, no presentment of this bank having been pro- 
duced. The only evidence given was that a Commission had issued, 
vestingthe sea defences of Norfolk in the Commissioners. There was, 
however, in this case an outside bank, the date of which was un- 
known, and which might have been the ancient bank. He, there- 
fore, withdrew the case from the jury, and entered a nonsuit. On 
the appeal, the Judge held that the plaintiff's case rested on two 
alternatives, either that the bank was an ancient bank, which the 
defendant was bound to maintain ratione tenura, or that the bank was 
under the jurisdiction of the Commissioners of Sewers. Upon the 
first point the evidence was not sufficient ; and on the second it was 
held that the mere fact that the bank was an old one was not suf- 
ficient to bring it within the jurisdiction of the Commissioners, there 
being no evidence of any exercise of jurisdiction over it. The 47th 
section of the Act of 4 William IV only showed what banks the 
Commissioners might, if the proper steps were taken, bring within 
their jurisdiction : so that a protecting bank does not ipso facto vest 
in the Commissioners. 

Throughout the greater part of South Lincolnshire sea banks 
have been erected outside the old Roman bank, either by private 
owners or by special Acts obtained by the parishes. The repair of 
these banks does not come under the jurisdiction of the Court. 
When the obligation to maintain these banks is not defined under 
the powers . by which they were erected, disputes have arisen as to 
the liability of one frontager to another for damage caused by neglect. 
Formerly the liability to repair sea banks and defences against the 
sea was regarded as a public duty, but a case was decided otherwise 
in 1876. The land of a proprietor in Essex, abutting on a tidal 
creek, was flooded during an extraordinary high tide, and he brought 
an action against an adjoining frontager, for having neglected to 
maintain his portion of the bank. At the trial there were no evi- 
dence to show that the defendant was bound by prescription to 
repair the bank, and the Court held that the mere fact of each owner 
having for his own protection kept up the wall did not establish a 
liability to do so for the protection of an adjoining owner, and that 
the length of time during which such repairs had continued added 
nothing to the argument. The plaintiff also contended that as it 
was the duty of the Crown to protect lands adjoining the sea from 
being flooded, that therefore the liability must be capable of enforce- 
ment : but the Court held that there was no obligation at common law 
to repair, and that as this bank was not under the jurisdiction of the 
Court of Sewers, the Crown, through the Court, could not be called 



53 



Attorney General 
v. Tomline. 



Hardwick v. 
Wylts. 



on to order the bank to be maintained. While this case settles that 
a frontager is not bound, at common law, to maintain his portion of 
a sea bank, and that he is not necessarily responsible for injury 
caused to the adjoining lands by a breach, it has, on the other hand, 
been decided that if injury arises from interference with any natural 
barrier, such as a bank of shingle, by which interference damage 
is caused by the tide or waves, the person causing such damage 
will be liable, and that it is the duty of the Crown to afford protec- 
tion to the land of the subject. A clear distinction in this case is 
drawn between artificial and natural barriers. 

Where the obligation is imposed, either by any special enact- 
ment of the legislature or by prescription, on Commissioners, or 
others, to maintain sea or river banks against floods, if the damage 
is caused by extraordinary floods, and no negligence can be shown, 
and if all reasonable precautions have been taken, there will be 
no liability as to damage caused by such floods. During a flood in 
the river Glen, in 1872, a breach of the bank occurred, and a large 
area of land was inundated. An action was brought to recover 
damages against the Black Sluice Commissioners, the parties liable 
for the maintenance of the bank. The case was tried at the Lincoln 
Spring Assizes ^1873. The question left to the jury was, whether the 
bank in question was in a fit and proper condition to protect the 
lands from such floods as might reasonably be contemplated. 
The jury finding in the affirmative, the verdict was recorded for the 
defendants, and was afterwards held good on appeal. On the other 
hand, in the case of a breach which occurred in the banks of the 
South Delph, during an unusual flood in the river Witham, the Gr?at w North, 
Great Northern Railway Company were found liable for the damage 
caused, the evidence satisfying the jury, at the Lincoln Assizes, 
where the case was tried, that the liability to repair the bank 
rested on them ; that repairs which had been executed by the 
Company had not been done in a skilful manner ; and that the 
breach was not due to the backing up of water owing to the default 
of the river Commissioners. On appeal, this verdict was sustained. 

In connection with the ownership of the sea banks it will not 
be out of place to refer to the great dispute which took place in 
the reign of Edward III, between the Abbots of Peterborough and 
Swineshead, as to the proprietorship of the marsh land on the 
exterior of the banks of Bicker Haven, which accreted by the 
deposition of the alluvium washed up by the tides, a process which 
was evidently going on rapidly in those days. The various com- 
missions, arbitrations and trials concerning this suit were spread 
over a period of 25 years, and it was only finally settled by an appeal 
to Parliament. The contention appears to have been as to the 
ownership of certain marshes in Gosberton (part of Bicker Haven) 
which had accreted, and which lay in front of the manor of the Abbot 



em 
Raitway Com- 
pany. 



OWN ERSHIP OF 

LANDS COVERED 

BY T H E TIDE. 



54 

of Swineshead, on which ground he claimed it. The Abbot of Peter- 
borough, on the other hand, set up a claim, because, although the 
land lay in front of the Abbot of Swineshead's Manor, it was separa- 
ted from it by a creek, the accretion having gradually extended 
from the Manor of Peterborough in a lateral direction, so as to over- 
lap the land of the adjoining proprietor. The following is an 
account of the commencement of the proceedings: — "Memorandum. 
Dugdaie's That in the year of our Lord MCCCXLII, 16 Edward III, the 
Em Dra^i s and Abbot of Swinesheved and Sir Nicholas de Ry, Knight, did implead 
the Abbot of Peterborough for CCCXL acres of marsh, with the 
appurtenances, in Gosberchirche, viz., the Abbot of Swinesheved 
for CC and Sir Nicholas for CXL, by two writs. And the first day 
of the Assizes at Lincolne was on Wednesday, being the morrow 
after the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula ; at which time there came 
thither Gilbert de Stanford, then Celerer to the convent, John de 
Achirche, bailiff of the said Abbot's Mannors ; together with Sir 
John de Wilughby, Lord of Eresby ; Sir John de Kirketon, and Sir 
Saier de Rochford, knights ; John de Multon, parson of Skirbek, as 
also divers others of the said Abbot's Counsel. And because the 
defence of this suit seemed difficult and costly to the Abbot, in 
regard that his adversaries had privately and subtilly made the 
whole country against him, especially the Wapentake of Kirketon, 
he submitted to an amicable treaty of peace, on the day preceding 
the assize, the place of their meeting being in the chapter house of 
Lincolne : at which treaty, in the presence of Sir Nicholas de 
Cantilupe (who was the principal mediator betwixt them, as a friend 
to both sides) and other knights and friends, above specified, the 
said Abbot of Swynesheved and Sir Nicholas de Ry did set forth 
their claim in that marsh ; affirming that it did belong to them by 
right, by the custom of the country ; because that it was increased 
and grown to their own ancient marshes by addition of sand which 
the sea had by its flowings cast up ; insomuch as by that means 
coming to be firm land, they said that they ought to enjoy it, as far 
as Salten Ee ; and in regard that the said Abbot of Peterborough 
had possessed himself thereof, contrary to right, and against the said 
custom, they had brought the assize of novel disseizin in form aforesaid. 
Whereunto the Counsel for the Abbot of Peterborough 
answered that the custom of this province of Holand, so stated by 
the plaintiffs, ought thus to be understood and qualified, viz., that 
when, by such addition of any silt or sand, there should happen an 
increase of land, and, by the sea's leaving thereof, become firm 
ground, it ought to belong unto him to whose firm and solid ground 
it first joined itself, without any respect whether it grew directly to 
it, or at one side. And they further said that the before specified 
marsh did originally join itself to the ancient marsh of the said 
Abbot of Peterborough, whereof that monastery had been seized 



55 

time beyond memory, as it appeared by Domesday Book, where it is 
recorded that the Abbot of Peterborough had XVI salt pans in 
Donington ; moreover, in the Charter of King Richard I, 
there were confirmed to the said Abbot three carucates of land, with 
the salt pans and pastures, and all their appurtenances, in Holland ; 
so that the said soil, increasing little by little, ought not to belong to 
the Abbot of Swinesheved and Sir Nicholas, according to the custom 
of the country ; because that a certain part of Salten Ee, which 
was not then dry land, did lye betwixt the old marsh belonging to 
the said Abbot of Swinesheved and Sir Nicholas, and the marsh 
whereof they pretended to be disseized ; which part of Salten Ee 
could not at all be drained ; because that the fresh waters used to 
run through that place from the parts of Kesteven to the sea." 

It will be unnecessary to follow the case through all its various 
stages. The final settlement was made by six arbitrators who 
awarded that the Abbot of Peterborough was to pay a certain sum 
of money to the others, and they in return were to give up all their 
right to the marsh. " And as to the future increase of ground, 
which might happen to either party, that it should be enjoyed by 
him to whose land it did lie most contiguous." And this was con- 
firmed by the Parliament which sat in the seventeenth year of the 
reign of King Edward III. The question was again raised and was 
not finally settled till the 41st year of King Edward's reign, " when 
was that memorable verdict touching the customs of the country, 
that the lords of manors adjoining to the sea should enjoy the land 
which is raised by silt and sand, which the tides do cast up." 

It is now held that the title to the fore-shore, between high and 
low water mark, is in the Crown, the department charged with its 
care being the Board of Trade. By ancient grant, charter, or pre- 
scription, it may have become vested in the subject, and purchases 
from the Crown are now frequently made. 

Land gradually and imperceptibly formed by alluvium, until its 
surface reaches above the level of ordinary high water, becomes the 
property of the owner of the land to which it is attached. 

The Court of Sewers has power, besides the maintenance of old 
and existing defences, to improve existing works, when it is neces- or co"r't of 
sary for the more effectually defending and securing any lands 
within the jurisdiction of the Court, against the irruption or over- 
flowing of the sea, or the draining and carrying off of the superfluous 
waters. When the cost of such works exceeds /"iooo, plans 
and estimates must be prepared and notice given by advertise- 
ment for two months pre-rious to the order being made ; notices, 
also, must be affixed to the church doors of the parishes, for three 
successive Sundays. If the proprietors of half the rateable area 
dissent, the Commissioners cannot proceed with the work. If there 
is no such dissent, the Court can borrow money for the execution 



POWER 



SEWERS TO EXE- 
CUTE WORKS- 



formation of 
new courts of 

SEWERS- 



COURTS. 



56 

of such works, to be repaid within a period not exceeding four- 
teen years. 

With regard to the soil thrown out of a sewer when it is being 
cleaned out, widened or deepened, this may be removed by the 
frontager for his own use (3 and 4 William IV, c. 22, clauses 22 and 
23.) But if he does not remove it within six months the Commis- 
sioners can order the owner or occupier to remove it, or they can 
themselves remove or dispose of it. 

Under the Land Drainage Act of 186 1, Commissions of Sewers 
may, with the approval of the Inclosure Commissioners, be issued 
for districts where they have not formerly existed, if it can be shown 
that the state of the drainage is such as to require some controlling 
body to superintend the outfalls ; but as the Act also gives the 
option between a Commission of Sewers or an Elective Drainage 
District, the latter method has been generally adopted in these places 
where the provisions of the Act have been applied. 
Lincolnshire Thus it will be seen that the Court of Sewers is not only an 

ancient but a very important body of Commissioners, with respon- 
sible duties and extensive powers. They can summon juries, 
administer oaths, lay rates, levy fines, and issue distresses. Many 
of their acts are judicial, and can only be set aside by appeals to the 
higher courts. Before the existence of the Witham, Black Sluice, 
Deeping Fen, South Holland, and other Drainage Commissions, the 
whole of the sewers and banks in this neighbourhood were under 
the control and management of the Court of Sswers, and even now 
there are few parishes which do not, to some extent, depend on the 
sewers, gotes, and sluices of the Court of Sewers for their drainage. 

Although there are several Courts in Lincolnshire, the Com- 
mission extends to the whole county, and the members have the 
right of attending and voting at any of the Courts, a privilege which 
is sometimes taken advantage of on important occasions, or when 
the appointment of a clerk or other officer is made. As a rule, how- 
ever, the members confine their attendances to the Court which has 
jurisdiction over the neighbourhood in which they reside. 

The two Courts in the division of Holland are that for the 
Wapentake of Skirbeck and Kirton, in the north ; and of Elloe, in 
the south. 

A full exposition of the law relating to Courts of Sewers and 
copies of the various Sewers Acts will be found in a work published 
in 1884, by Messrs. G. G. Kenedy, Recorder of Grantham, and J. S. 
Sanders, of the Midland Circuit. 



57 



SKIRBECK HUN- 



Map. Fig. g. 



KIRTON HUN- 



Map. Fig. 10. 



CHAPTER III. 

North Holland Parishes. 

NORTH HOLLAND contains the Hundreds of Skirbeck and 
Kirton. The Skirbeck Hundred includes all the parishes »»" 
lying on the east coast, between the Witham and the Lindsey Divi- 
sion, known as the East Holland Towns, namely, Boston, Skirbeck, 
Fishtoft, Freiston, Butterwick, Leverton, Benington, Leake and 
Wrangle. The Kirton Hundred includes the following parishes, 
lying south of the Witham, and between this river and the Ham- "'"'d«d 
mond Beck on the west, viz., Algarkirk, Bicker, Brothertoft, Doning- 
ton, Fosdyke, Frampton, Gosberton, Kirton, Quadring, Skirbeck 
Quarter, Sutterton, Swineshead, Surfleet, Wigtoft and Wyberton ; 
also the following places, formerly extra-parochial, viz., Hart's 
Grounds, North Forty Foot Bank, Amber Hill, Great and Little Beats, 
Copping Syke, Drainage Marsh, Ferry Corner Plot, The Friths, 
Hall Hills, Pelham's Lands, Pepper Gowt Plot, Seven Acres, Shuff 
Fen, Simon Weir and South of Witham. Skirbeck Hundred con- 
tains, exclusive of the Borough of Boston, 29,064 acres ; Kirton 
Hundred 63,513 acres ; and the new parochialised places 6,929 acres. 

The sewers and ancient sea banks in North Holland are 
under the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers for the Wapentakes, 
or Hundreds, of Skirbeck and Kirton, which meets at Boston. The 
former includes the parishes on the coast, north of the river 
Witham, known as the East Holland Towns, and also Friskney and 
Sibsey, which, although in the Lindsey Division of the County, are 
under the jurisdiction of the Boston Court. The fen portion of 
these hundreds has been withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the 
Court, the East and West Fens being in the Fourth District of the 
Witham Commission ; and the fens in the Kirton Hundred, in the 
Black Sluice District. 

Owing to enclosures which have been made during the present 
century, the ancient sea banks are now nearly all inland, the excep- 
tions in North Holland being a short length in the parishes of 
Skirbeck and Skirbeck Quarter, both on the river, and part of the 
bank in Freiston and Wrangle. 

The principal parish sewers in North Holland empty themselves 
either into the Hobhole, or the Maud Foster, Drain, but a few 
discharge their -contents by sluices through the sea bank. 



DRAINAGE AND 
SEA BANKS. 



HAMMOND BECK- 



58 

The drains in the Kirton Wapentake are larger and of more 
importance than those in the Skirbeck Hundred, and most of them 
have two outfalls, one into Boston Haven, or the river Welland, on 
the east side, and the other into the Hammond Beck on the west 
side, the sewers running continuously from one outfall to the other. 

The principal watercourse is the Hammond Beck which is pro- 
bably a natural stream straightened and improved by the Romans. It 
is eighteen miles long. It commences at a short distance north of the 
Glen, in the parish of Pinchbeck, and formerly discharged direct into 
Boston Haven, butnow falls into the Black Sluice. Itforms the bound- 
ary between the fen and the high land. Its outfall into the Haven 
was at the point where the Parish of Boston and the Hamlet of 
Skirbeck Quarter join. It was formerly navigable for small boats, 
and a bridge was built to carry the road from Boston to Kirton over 
it. The remains of the old sluice and bridge were uncovered in 
1835, and the arch was found to be 6ft. wide and 6ft. high. There 
were two pointing doors each 5ft. 6in. high and 3ft. wide. This 

Thompson's _, . , , . , . ' 

Boston. Sluice was probably erected in 1597. 

The channel and banks of this stream were formerly under the 
jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers, and were maintained by 
the parishes through which it passed. Frequent references are 
made to its condition in the old Inquisitions of the Court of Sewers, 
and in 171 3 the Court ordered it to be made 24 feet wide and 4 feet 
deep, as decreed by the Redstone Gowt Law. By the Act of 1765, 
it was transferred to the Black Sluice Commissioners, who now 
maintain it. 

The other ancient sewers, frequently referred to, are the Rise- 
gate Eau, the Ouse Mer Lode, which formerly emptied into 
Bicker Haven, but now into the Risegate Eau ; the ' River of 
Byker,' which commences at Bicker Gauntlet, and, running through 
the village, forms the eastern boundary of the parish of Donington, 
and also formerly discharged into Bicker Haven ; and the old Beche 
drain, which forms the boundary, for part of the way, between 
Pinchbeck and Surfleet, and discharges into the Glen. 

The Glen, (called the ' River of Surfleet,' where it passed 
through that parish), before it was placed under the charge of the 
present Commission, was under the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers 
and its banks and channel were maintained by the parishes through 
which it passed. It was a constant source of trouble, and frequent 
references were made in the old Inquisitions, to the flooding caused by 
neglect to maintain it in proper order. 

A rather singular dispute as to the drainage of this district 
occurred in the reign of Edward I (1283). The Abbot of Peter- 
borough brought an action against Ranulph de Rye and others for 
putting him out of possession of his freehold, consisting of 40 acres of 
marsh at Gosberton. The defendants pleaded in defence that eighteen 



DUGDALE. 



59 

years previously the sea had made a hollow in the land of the Abbot ; 
which continuing for a long time, they afterwards drained it, and 
that- they were justified in so doing because "the custom of that 
country was such that whensoever the sea did by its raging over- 
flow any man's lands, and, meeting with any resistance, or upon its 
going back, waste away any of the said land, and make a hollow 
place, no man ought to fill up that place, but to cleanse and drain it 
for the common benefit of the country, and so to let it remain in the 
same condition that the sea first left it." The jurors, however, found 
that the land was "the several ground of the Abbot, in which no person 
without his leave had anything to do" ; that a great flood had hap- 
pened which broke the Abbot's bank, which breach the Abbot had 
repaired as was lawful for him to do, and that the said defendants 
had afterwards made a ditch upon the soil of the Abbot, against his 
leave, and excluded him from coming to the marsh. The Abbot 
had judgment to recover his seizin and twenty shillings damages. 

In the twenty-third year of Edward I, at an Inquisition held commissions 

.-* ■ rill r .OF SEWERS 

at Gosberton, it was found that the water from the sewers in 1293. 

Donington ought to have a free passage into the river of Byker, 
which runneth to the sea (Bicker Haven), and to be opened at all 
times, except when there should happen an abundance of water that 
the sewers could not suffice, but that the province of Holand would 
be drowned ; in such case it was to be lawful for them to stop the said 
sewers. It was also found that the channel of Byker ought to be 
repaired by the town of Byker ; that the sewer of Quadring Ee ought 
to be repaired on one side by the town of Quadring, and on the other 
by the town of Gosberchirche, and thence to the sea by the town of 
Surflet, and that the river of Surflet (the Glen) into which the 
Beche did descend, ought to be 16ft. wide, and that it was then so 
straightened by the men of Surflet, and raised to such a height, 
that the water of Beche could not have its current to sea as formerly. 
That the Hachelode was a common sewer, and ought to be ift. wide 
at its entrance from the marsh, and, lower down, 6ft. as far as the sea, 
and be repaired by the town of Pinchebec till it came to the sea. 

In the ninth year of the reign of Edward II, at an Inquisition 1316> 
held at Boston, orders were made relating to the same sewers ; and, 
with reference to the river of Byker, that it would be proper that the 
town of Byker, for its own benefit and commodity of the whole 
country, should make a certain clow with two doors, each of them 
4ft. in breadth ; which clow should be always open, unless a great 
inundation of the sea should happen. 

At the same Inquisition it was also found that the sewer 
called the Hammond Beck, at the South End of Boston, was 
obstructed by the inhabitants of that town, on the west part 
of the bridge, and also by the inhabitants of Skirbeck ; and that 
it ought to be repaired by the said men of Boston. 



6o 

In the thirty-fifth year of Edward III, a Commission, having 
made enquiry, found that " Wigtoft Gote ought to be repaired by the 
towns of Wygtoft and Swinesheved, that the town of Swinesheved 
ought to repair Swineshed Ee from the north side of Swinesheved 
unto Bicker Ee, that the towns of Bicker, Donington, Quadring and 
Gosberkirk ought to repair Bicker Ee from the baginning of Bicker 
to the sea, and to make it 24ft. in breadth and 6ft. in depth ; viz., 
the town of Bicker to Bonstake, and from thence the town of Doning- 
ton to Quadring, and from thence Quadring and the Commoners there- 
of to Gosberkirke, and Gosberkirke to the sea, and that it ought to run 
all the year. It was also presented that the gutter of Quadring called 
Augot was broken ; and that it was necessary that it should be 
removed nearer to the sea by a hundred perches ; as also that the 
ditches wherein the salt water came should be stopped ; moreover, 
that the Gote called Sangote in Gosberkirke was ruinous and that 
it ought to be repaired by the owners of certain lands in Surflete 
and Gosberton ; and that the Xewgote of Surfleet ought to be 
repaired and made 2ft. deep, by the town of Surfleet unto Totis- 
brige ; and that the town of Gosberkirke ought to maintain the gutter 
called the Thurgote, because at that time the said town and Surflete 
were almost drowned by an arm of the sea, which grew by reason 
of the said gutter and Salten Ee." The Jurors also " presented that 
the sea banks and others belonging to Surflete, Gosberkirke and 
Quadring were too weak and low " ; and the town's representatives 
having acknowledged before the Shire-reeve that they ought of right to 
repair them, ' ' they were amerced and distrained thereto ; and the town 
of Sotterton with all the rest were likewise amerced, because they 
came in by great distress." 

In the forty-ninth year of Edward III, a Jury found that the towns 
of Wiberton, Frampton, Kirton and the West of Boston ought to re- 
pair and maintain the Edykes from the Schust to Deynboth ; as also 
the towns of Swynesheved and Wyktofte ought to scour the sewer 
called Swineshed Ee from Candleby Hill to Bicker Ee. In the follow- 
ing year the inhabitants of Surflete acknowledged that they ought to 
repair a bridge in Surflete and cleanse the river of Burne (the Glen), 
every fourth year, from Xewsende in Pinchbec Marsh, which 
ought to be repaired by the town of Pinchebec unto Surflet, and 
and from Surflet to the sea, according to a decree made by the 
Justices of Sewers for those parts. 

From this time up to the reign of Elizabeth there is no record 
in Dugdaie of any order of importance as to the banks and sewers 
of this part of the county. In the fifteenth year of Elizabeth's reign 
an Inquisition sitting at Boston found that the Mer Lode could not 
convey away the water falling thereinto, and decreed that it should 
be scoured and made 16ft. wide and 6ft. deep, from the infall out 
of the Fen, unto a certain place called Elwcod Elmes, by the town- 



6i 

ships of Quacking and Donington ; and that from here it should be 
turned and made of the like breadth and depth by the inhabitants of 
the said town of Quadring to Gosberton Ee, and at the falling thereof 
into the said Ee there should be a substantial stone bridge made 
and erected for the public roadway, at the charges of Quadring and 
Donyngton, and likewise a dam at Partye Bridge ; and moreover that 
the inhabitants of Quadring and Donington should for ever after 
enjoy, for the commodity of their said watercourse of Merlode, the 
same drain called Gosberton Ee, under the sea dyke, from the infall 
of Merlode thereinto. ' In consideration whereof it was decreed that 
Quadring and Donington should make another drain in Gosberkirk 
Ee, to stop and turn the watercourse of Rysegate from the old 
course towards the sea dyke at a place near Challan Bridge, where 
it was decreed that a bridge should be made at the charge of Quad- 
ring and Donington, and that these townships should scour a new 
drain to be called the Newe Ee of Surflet and Gosberkirk, which 
would be beneficial for the speedy conveyance of the water of 
Kesteven and Holand from the said old course in Rysegate Ee by 
the same New Ee. By a decree of Sewers, made at Helpringham 
three years later, it wasreported that the "New Gote, set in the sea 
dyke of Surflet, did of a sudden, after three weeks settling thereof, 
sink into a quicksand, and it was ordered that the same should be made 
again, more substantially, and set upon a better and firmer founda- 
tion ;" also that two new bridges should be erected upon the 
Newdike sewer at Rysgate Ee-mouth by the inhabitants of Gosber- 
kirke and Surflete, one in Quadring up-Fen for the road coming 
from Westrop, and the other within the limits of Byker in Heken- 
dale Wathe, of such height as boats might well pass under ; also 
that one bridge over the sewer at Kyrton Fen, another at Frampton 
Fen, and another at Lichfield End, should be repaired by the town- 
ships and persons who of right ought to do the same, and that they 
should be of 12ft. in breadth and of height sufficient for boats to 
pass under. 

The history of the Risegate Eau will be found further on, and 
other orders of the Court of Sewers, in the chapter on the Black Sluice. 

The sewers in North Holland are divided into two classes, the 
first being public sewers maintained by the Dykereeves of the re- 
spective parishes out of the rates, and the other private or petty 
sewers, which are maintained by the frontagers. 

The last Inquisition, Presentment and Verdict for the wapen- 
takes of Skirbeck and Kirton, was made in 1862. The jury, for both 
wapentakes, consisted of Joseph Pocklington, Algarkirk ; John 
Ward, Boston ; John H. Farr, Boston West ; James Lancaster, 
Boston ; Thomas L. Clayton, Boston West ; Samuel Belton, 
Boston West ; Joseph Perry, Boston ; John Hurl, Boston ; Jona- 
than Fox, Brothertoft ; John Roberts, Wyberton ; Charles Benton, 



VERDICT OF ISA*. 



62 



SEA BANKS. 



GREAT GALE OF 
IBIO. 

Boston Gazette, 
Nov. 13, 1810. 



Frampton ; George Ward, Frampton ; Robert Ownsworth, Kirton 
Fen ; George W. Hides, Sutterton Fen ; Richardson Dring, Sut- 
terton Fen ; James Sharp, Sutterton Fen ; George Wadsley, 
Sutterton Fen ; Richard Sellers, Sutterton Fen ; William Wadsley, 
Algarkirk Fen ; Jonathan Ward, Algarkirk Fen ; Edward Woods 
Ullyatt, Algarkirk Fen ; William Plant Harrison, Frithville ; John 
Bland, Frith Bank ; David Lawrence, Frith Bank ; John Foun- 
tain, Kirton Fen ; Frederick Cooke being then clerk of the Court, 
and Frederick Lyon Hopkins, chairman. 

A list of the banks and sewers presented at this Inquisition will 
be found in the appendix. The total area of land, as determined 
thereat, was 20,214 acres in Skirbeck Hundred, and 30,483 
acres in Kirton Wapentake. 

The sea and river banks protecting North Holland from the 
tides have been a constant source of trouble, and the minutes of the 
Court of Sewers contain numerous records of breaches, and orders 
made on the persons liable for repairs. Thus, in 1713, it is recorded 
that by the rage and violence of the spring tides, the haven banks, 
west of Shuff Fen, had been overflowed, and the Sheriff was asked 
to summon a Jury to examine the same ; and again, in 1715, it was 
presented that the banks protecting Wildmore Fen were in a defec- 
tive condition, and full of ' gooles.' 

The most disastrous results to the country from breaches and 
overflowings of the banks were from the great tide of 1810. This 
occurrence was thus described at the time. 

" On Saturday morning, about seven o'clock, it began to rain at 
Boston, and continued to do so throughout the day. The wind ac- 
companied the rain impetuously from E.S.E., and gradually in- 
creased in roughness. From eleven o'clock in the day till six in the 
evening, it blew extremely hard ; and from that hour till nine, a 
perfect hurricane. The consequence of this continued gale for so 
many hours in one point was, that the tide in the evening came in with 
great rapidity, and rose, half an hour before the expected time of full 
flood, to a height exceeding by four inches what it is recorded to have 
attained on any occasion preceding. The consternation produced 
by the rise of water several feet above its usual level, may well be 
imagined to be excessive. Houses, which on no occasion whatever 
before had been invaded by the tide, were now, by its over-pouring 
all probable bounds, filled to a great depth with the water, which 
rushed into kitchens and cellars, and inundated every apartment 
until it found its level. Whole streets were thus circumstanced ; 
and some were for two or three hours inacessible but to those who 
had resolution enough to wade up to the knees. The performance 
of divine service on Sunday in the parish church, Boston, was pre- 
vented by the tide on the preceding evening having completely 
flooded the area appropriated to public worship. The height of the 



63 

water against the western end of the steeple, was two feet eight 
inches and a half — four inches higher than in the year 1807. 
Friskney new sea bank was broken by the tide in two or three 
places ; Leverton new sea bank the same ; of Freiston new bank 
scarcely a vestige was left ; the old bank, also, in that parish was 
broken in many places, as was Boston East old bank, and the banks 
at Skirbeck Quarter, Wyberton, Frampton, and Fosdyke. — It may 
be well here to observe, that the new banks are those lately made 
on the enclosure of the marshes from the sea, but are not relied upon 
for the defence of the country at large. The old sea banks, un- 
happily for the country, have proved insufficient in height, as the 
surge passed over them almost along tlie whole line : and this was the 
cause of the breaches, — the overflow ha\ing first scoured away the 
banks, from the summit to the base, on tlie land side. The situation 
of the country, in consequence, from YVainfleet almost to Spalding 
a distance of 30 miles, is such as exceeds our powers of description. 
The hotel (Plummer's) at Freiston Shore was for some hours 
in danger of being quite washed down ; the great bow window of 
the dining-room, although a considerable height from the ground, 
was forced from the building by the water, and carried to the dis- 
tance of several fields. Dead sheep are seen lying in numbers 
from every road that is passable. The roads from Boston to- 
wards the sea at Fosdyke Wash are nearly impassable, being horse- 
belly deep in water, and the communications along the sea banks 
are cut off by the breaches in them ; but the Court of Sewers is sit- 
ting daily at Boston, issuing orders for th& security of the country. 
What was an extraordinary thing was, that the tide, when it 
had flowed to its highest, did not perceptibly subside for more than 
an hour." 

For several days the water remained on the land, and was so 
deep that the Commissioners appointed by the Court of Sewers to 
view the banks at Fosdyke were unable to do this, as the roads 
leading from Boston to Wyberton, Frampton, Kirton, and Algar- 
kirk, were so completely inundated as to be impassable on horse- 
back. This tide rose 4ft. 7fin. above an ordinary spring tide, or 
17-936:. above ordnance datum, and from 6ft. to 10ft. above the 
surface of the land. There is a mark cut on the west side of the 
tower of Boston Church, showing the height to which the church- 
yard was flooded. 

The Court of Sewers met at Boston on the following day, court of 
Sunday, when it was reported that the whole line of sea bank within S ^ r e v rs II M isl?o? s 
the two wapentakes, extending from Friskney to Fosdyke, was over- 
flowed in places, and several large breaches made, particularly in the 
parishes of Boston East, Skirbeck, Fishtoft, Freiston, Boston West, 
Skirbeck Quarter, Frampton, Kirton, Algarkirk, Fosdyke and 
Surfleet. The Court appointed John Farnsworth, for the Kirton 



Court ot Sewers. 



6 4 

wapentake, and Francis Pinkerton, for the Skirbeck wapentake as 
' particular surveyors,' with unlimited powers to employ men and 
obtain materials for repairing the breaches. At a subsequent Courti 
Minutes Mr. John Rennie of London was appointed engineer, to examine 
the banks, and report as to the works to be done to make the same 
secure for the future ; and Anthony Bower, of Lincoln, was ap- 
pointed to take the levels of the banks from Friskney to Fosdyke, 
with cross sections of the same. They were also directed to ascer- 
tain the extent of the country liable to be flooded, which would 
be benefited by raising and strengthening the banks. 
J. Rennie, At a Court of Sewers held at the Guildhall, Boston, on the 1 ith 

Feb. 1812, the report of Mr. Rennie was read, in which he stated 
that he had examined the sea banks from Wainfleet to the Grand 
Sluice at Boston, and thence, on the north-east side of the river, to 
the river Glen ; and that by his direction Mr. A. Bower had taken 
levels of the banks. These levels showed that the lowest part of 
the bank, from Wainfleet to Boston, was only one foot above ordi- 
nary spring tides, and that from Boston to the Five Towns Sluice, 
on the river Welland, the banks were above the level of ordinary 
spring tides. The ancient bank, over which the Court had jurisdic- 
tion, was round Bicker Haven, but owing to the enclosure of 
this estuary, the interior banks were much neglected, and in many 
paces were under the level of spring tides ; and in their then 
condition they were not generally calculated to resist much more 
than the ordinary spring tides. He advised that all the banks 
should be raised and strengthened, the sea-slope being brought to a 
batter of 5 to 1 and the land-slope of 2 to 1 . The estimated cost from 
Friskney to Boston was ^"21,511 ; and from Boston to the south- 
west side of Bicker Haven, including a new bank on the Glen, 
£1 1,467, both estimates being exclusive of land required for getting 
materials. 

As regards the land that would continue to be inundated if the 

breaches made by the tide of 18 10 had not been repaired, Mr. 

Rennie stated, in a subsequent report, that, as. far as he could form 

March 16, 1812. an opinion, the tidal water would be stopped on the west side of the 

Witham, by the banks of the Black Sluice Drain, Hammond Beck, 

Pinchbeck township, the river Glen, and the Vernatts ; on the 

east, by the banks of Frith Bank Drain, Newdike to Freiston 

Common, Hobhole Drain to Benington Bridge, Lade Bank Drain, 

and on to the Steeping river bank and the high lands in Wainfleet. 

The Court, having considered the report, resolved " that the 

""Minutes* 618 ' plan recommended by Mr. Rennie for strengthening and heighten- 

Feb.n.iSta. ing the sea banks in the Wapentakes of Skirbeck and Kirton, for 

the more effectual defence and preservation of the country against 

the sea, is of too serious a magnitude to be adopted at the present, 

and that therefore this Court will confine its deliberations to the 



Court of Sewers. 



65 

business of repairing the breaches and defects in the sea banks, and 
placing the country in the same state of security that it was deemed 
to be in immediately previous to the 10th of November, 1810." 

The Court after duly considering the cost of making a survey and 
obtaining levels of the land, came to the conclusion that all the lands 
within the Wapentakes of Skirbeck and Kirton were, with some small 
exceptions, considerably below the high water mark of the 1810 tide, 
and that the whole level should be subjected to charge accordingly. 

Special Juries were summoned by the Sheriff of the County to view 
the lands in the Skirbeck and Kirton Wapentakes, and determine 
which of those lands ought to be brought into charge upon the level. 

At a subsequent Court, George Meeds, the foreman of the 
Skirbeck Jury, presented the verdict, by which it was found that Ta^'""'^' 
the parishes were liable in the following proportions : — 

Kirton Wapentake. Assessment 

Per Acre, 
a. r. p. s. d. 

Skirbeck Quarter... ... 439 00 10 

Wyberton ... ... 1522 2 o 10 o 

Frampton ... ... 1987 3 21 70 

Kirton ... ... ... 3150 20 60 

Swineshead ... ... 1264 00 26 

Wigtoft... ... ... 1477 30 40 

Sutterton ... ... 1791 30 50 

Algarkirk ... ... 1617 30 70 

Fosdyke ... ... 815 20 90 

Quadring ... ... 1208 20 20 

Quadring Hundred ... 519 2 o 26 

Gosberton ... ... 2614 20 30 

Surfleet ... ... 2025 10 50 

20,434 J 2r 
Special Collectors were appointed for each parish, to gather in 

the rate. 

The verdict of the Skirbeck Jury was presented at another Court of Sewers. 

Court by Mr. Joshua Aspland, the foreman, and the lands held Mar«S"^i8i3. 

liable were assessed, as follows : — 





Skirbeck 


Wapentake. 


Assessment, 
Per Acre 






a. r. p. 


s. d. 


Boston East 




468 3 13 


6 8 


Skirbeck 




... 2394 2 17 


6 8 


Fish toft... 




2087 O 38 


5 


Fishtoft Hundred 


369 O 2 


4 


Freiston 




••■ 3135 O 37 


6 8 


Butterwick 




1251 2 32 


4 


Benington 




1886 O 5 


3 4 


Leverton 


... 


2236 O 31 


2 8 


Leake ... 




4123 2 26 


2 


Wrangle 


... 


... 4727 O 35 


1 6 


Friskney 


... 


4220 3 19 


1 2 



26,900 2 15 



HIGH TIDE OF IStS. 



66 

The verdict of the Jury in each case was ordered to be made 
c A Law and Ordinance of the Sewers.' The amount required for 
repairing the breaches and the other expenses relating thereto was 
ordered to be raised by an acre-tax upon the lands set out in the 
verdict. From the above verdict it would appear that the cost of 
making good the damage and strengthening the banks amounted to 
^5,662 in Kirton Hundred and /"4,794 in Skirbeck. 

Thompson's One account states that the loss sustained throughout Holland 

Boston. was ver y large, great numbers of sheep and cattle being drowned 
and corn and hay stacks swept away. The damage done was 
estimated at ^"16,540 for individual losses, injury to the public sea 
banks at ^3,500, and to private sea banks at ^"S,ooo, or ^"28,340 in all. 
A subscription was set on foot to relieve in some degree the distress 
of those who had been injured by this great calamity. It is evident 
that the damage to the sea banks is much under-estimated in the 
above account. 

In February, 1816, a very high tide occurred, which covered the 
top of the sea banks in several places, by as much as from six to nine 
inches. A Jury was summoned by the Sheriff to view the condition 
of the sea banks, and, on their report, Mr. Famsworth was appointed 
by the Court ' Particular Surveyor ' of the sea banks which were 
presented as defective, and he was directed to furnish the dykereeves 
with a specification of the manner in which the said defective 
work should be made good. 

Under this and other orders, the banks, particularly in Skirbeck 
Quarter, Wyberton, Frampton, Kirton, Algarkirk, Fosdvke, Boston, 
Court of sewers. Skirbeck, Fishtoft and Freiston, were raised and strengthened in the 

z^Nov^lW defective places, and land was purchased for the purpose. 
level stones. The Riding Jury who viewed the sea banks in 1S20 made a 

presentment that, owing to the difficulty of ascertaining the proper 
Col MirMitesy er5 ' heights to which the banks should be maintained, it was desirable 

SnSv7, iS t^* level stones should be affixed, in each parish, with figures cut 

r 5 Dec, 1820 m them giving the height at which the top of the bank should be 
above these stones. Mr. J. Cole was accordingly appointed by the 
Court to take the necessary levels, and these stones were fixed ac- 
cording to his directions. 

The top of the sea bank was ordered to be two feet above the 
great tide of iSio. This makes the bank 6ft. jin. above ordinary 
spring tides, or ig-o^ft. above Ordnance datum. The heights given 
on the stones will be found in the Abstract of the Jury of 1862. 
(Appendix viii.) 

The Sewers' rates, laid in the several parishes in recent 
years, amount to about the following sums. In addition to these, 
special rates have been laid to pay the interest and instalments 
of loans raised for the works done to the Five Towns and Risegate 
Eau Drains. 



SEA BANKS 
RAISED. 



HEIGHT OF SEA 
BANKS. 



6 7 



Skirbeck Hundred. 



Boston East ... 

Sibsey 

Fishtoft 

Fishtoft Hundred 

Leake 

Wrangle 

Butterwick . . . 

Friskney 

Skirbeck 

Leverton 

Freiston 

Benington 



2d. 

4 d. 
3d- 

2d. 

3d- 
3d- 
3d- 
3d. 
6d. 
4 d. 
6d. 
5d- 



in the £ 
per acre 



Kirton Hundred. 
Boston West 2d. in the £ 
Skirbeck Quarter 6d. per acre. 

4 d. 

3d. 

5d. 

6d. 

6d. 

3d- 
is. 
4 d. 
4 d. 



Wyberton 

Frampton ... 

Algarkirk . . . 

Sutterton . . . 

Fosdyke 

Kirton 

Wigtoft ... 

Quadring . . . 

Gosberton ... 

SwinesheadNorth 6d 
„ South 6d. 

Surfleet 6d. 

In the following pages, the system of drainage of each separate 
parish is described, so far as it is under the jurisdiction of the Court 
of Sewers, and abstracts are given of the Acts which have been passed 
for the enclosure of the common lands in these parishes, and for the 
embankment of the marshes. 

Boston. — The drainage of the lands in this Parish is by several 
sewers. On the east side of the town the principal sewer discharges 
at a sluice, formerly known as Dipple Gowt, into the River Witham 
immediately below the Grand Sluice. It is now entirely covered 
over. It passes through the town in a circular course, under the 
Red Lion Hotel, the Corn Exchange, and at the back of the 
Grammar School, to another sluice at the Ferry at the end of St. 
John's lane, where tidal water is taken in for flushing it. Other 
smaller sewers run down Main Ridge and Chapel street, and, also 
another, under Bargate Green, discharge into Maud Foster Drain. 
A sewer, commencing at Frith Bank and running along the Frith 
Bank road, Robin Hood's walk, Norfolk street (formerly Sluice Lane) 
and then across the end of North street, empties into Bargate drain 
near Bargate Bridge (formerly Pedder's Bridge). This sewer is 
also covered over where it passes through the town. On the West 
side the main outlet was formerly into Hammond Beck in Skirbeck 
Quarter. This sewer continued as an open drain at the back of King 
street and Liquorpond street, and also extended to West street and 
Fydell marsh. The outfall of this sewer is into the Haven in 
Skirbeck Quarter. The lower part now consists of a large 
brick culvert. The remainder of this open sewer has been filled in 
and superseded by brick sewers under the streets. That portion of 
the Parish known as Boston West, formerly part of Holland Fen, is 
dealt with in the account of the Second District. 

Early in the present century, an A<5t was obtained for enclosing 
the common lands, containing 1.3SS acres, lying between Hilldyke, 
and Long Hedges and Willoughby Hills, commonly known as 
Boston East, and also the lands allotted to the Parish of Boston in 



PARISH SEWERS. 



BOSTON EAST 
ENCLOSURE. 



50 Geo. iii,c. 50, 
1810. 



68 

the East and West Fens under the Enclosure AcT: of 1801. John 
Burcham of Coningsby, Charles Wedge of Westley Bottom, and 
Anthony Bower of Lincoln, were appointed Commissioners for 
dividing and allotting these lands. For the purpose of estimat- 
ing the value of the land, Robert Millington of Gedney, William 
Thacker of Langrett Ferry, and Thomas Rockliffe of Fulletby were 
appointed 'quality men, valuers and appraisers.' The Commissioners 
were allowed three guineas a day, including their expenses, and the 
Quality Mentwo guineas, for their services. The Commissioners were 
empowered to make roads and drains, and to allot three acres of land to 
the Surveyor of Highways for the repair of the roads. The Mayor and 
Burgesses of Boston, as Lords of the Manor, were to have one thirtieth 
part of the commonable lands in Boston East, and in lieu of the 
tithes, of which they were the owners, one ninth part of the common 
and a plot, equal in value to one fifth of the arable land there under 
cultivation, and two seventieths of the other land, in lieu of great and 
small tithes, whilst the remainder was to be allotted amongst the 
owners of houses and toftsteads. The award when made was to be 
enrolled with the Town Clerk and he was bound to supply copies of 
any part thereof at the rate of four pence per sheet of 72 words, and 
to allow any person interested in the award to inspect the same for 
a fee of one shilling. 
TRANSFrR or The land dealt with by this Act was transferred from Boston 

parishes, leal, parish, under the divided Parishes AcT:, in 1881 and 1882; that in 
the East Fen, containing 397 acres, to Leake ; the allotment in the 
West Fen at Carrington, containing 25 acres, to that parish ; the 
allotments in the West Fen at Mount Pleasant, containing 880 acres, 
to Frithville and that at Boston East, about 770 acres, to Fishtoft. 
boston west. Boston West is in the Kirton Wapentake, and runs by the side 

of the river Witham, from Boston nearly to Langrick Ferry, being 
bounded on the south by the North Forty Foot drain, and on the 
west by the parish of Brothertoft. It contains 1,502a. 2r. 5p., and 
forms part of the Municipal Borough of Boston. It elects one 
member on the Black Sluice Commission. It was allotted to the 
parish of Boston by the award made under the Holland Fen 
Enclosure Act, and was divided and allotted under the powers of an 
Act, obtained in 177 1, for dividing and enclosing the common fen 
belonging to Boston West. The quantity allotted was 1,513a. 
3r. 14P., the difference between the rateable area and this quantity 
being due to roads and drains. 

Thomas Staveley of Kirton, Peter Packharness of Benington, 
and William Elstobb of London were appointed Commissioners to 
allot the land, and to set out the roads (which were to be sixty feet 
wide and to become highways) , bridges and drains. They were to be paid 
£ 84 each for their time and expenses. The award was to be enrolled 
with the Clerk of the Peace for the division of Holland, and be open 



INCLOSURE 


ACT. 


7 Geo. iii, 


1767. 


10 Geo. iii, 


C40, 


1770- 




2 Geo. iii, 


CIIO, 


1771. 





DRAINAGE. 



DRAINAGE RATES. 



SCIRE BECK. 



69 

to inspection on payment of a fee of one shilling and two pence for 
every hundred words copied. This award was printed and issued by 
C. Preston of Boston. Sixty acres of land abutting on Hall Hills road 
were sold by auction by the Commissioners to pay the expenses, in 
lots of ten acres, at an average price of £\i an acre. 

The principal drain of the district commences at the north west 
part, near Brothertoft, and discharges into the North Forty Foot 
Drain, near where the New Cut commences. The drainage is under 
the jurisdiction of the Second Witham District Commissioners. 

This district is subject to the sixpenny and eightpenny Witham 
Second District Tax ; the sixpenny Black Sluice rate ; the Witham 
Outfall rate ; and the Second District Interior Rate. 

Skirbeck. — The principal drain for this parish, before the 
works were carried out for draining the Fens, was the Scire Beck, 
which commences near High Hills, at the north-west extremity of 
the parish, whence it runs along Robin Hood's Walk, crossing 
Norfolk-street, and running towards the present Bargate Bridge. At 
the point where it crossed Bargate near Mill Hill, it was spanned by 
Pedder's Bridge, whence it ran nearly in the same direction as the 
present Maud Foster Drain, its course, however, being very tor- 
tuous. Near Mount Bridge it diverged to the west, passing near 
the Muster Roll Houses, and, after crossing the Skirbeck-road, joined 
Boston Haven by an outlet a little below the site of the old Gallows 
Mills, which were situated where the south end of Boston dock now 
is. The upper part of the drain is still open, and in use. The 
middle part may be traced by the boundary line between the 
parishes of Boston and Skirbeck. The lower part has been converted 
into a brick sewer, and discharges into Maud Foster Drain near the 
Muster Roll Houses. The oak framing and planking of the old 
culvert and sluice in the river bank, which had been abandoned 
since the cutting of Maud Foster drain in the 17th century, was 
laid bare when the river bank was removed during the construction 
of the dock. 

The whole of the drainage of this parish discharges into Maud 
Foster drain, except a small area, which drains into the Graft Drain 
in Fishtoft. The outlet into Maud Foster is on the east side, near 
Bargate Bridge, and on the west side by two sluices near the Boston 
Cemetery. 

By an arrangement, made in 1881 and confirmed by the Court graft drain. 
of Sewers, the land which drains into the Graft pays the parish of Minutes, 
Fishtoft at the rate of threepence an acre. u °' - ' 

The liability to repair the sea bank, until recently, devolved on sea bank. 
the owners of a large number of plots of land, but is now undertaken 
by the Dykereeves, on behalf of the parish. A great part of the 
bank was either removed or superseded when the Boston Dock was 
built. 



DRAINAGE. 



7° 



ENCLOSURES. 

7 Geo. lii, 1767 



58 Geo. iii, 1818. 



TRANSFER OF 
LAND TO SIBSEY. 



GRAFT DRAIN. 



Thompson's 
Boston. 



F1SHTOFT COTE, 
1711. 



INCLOSURE. 

50 Geo. iii, u. 53, 



By the award made under the West Fen Enclosure Act 446a. 
ir. 2gp. of land were allotted to this parish in the West Fen. 
There were also in the parish other commonable salt marshes and 
commonable lands, and an act was obtained in 181 8 for enclosing 
and allotting these. John Bircham of Coningsby was appointed 
Commissioner for the purpose. The act directed that two acres 
should be set out for the repair of the roads and that the herbage of 
this should be let by the Surveyor, and the rents applied to the 
repair of the roads ; the Lord of the Manor was to be allotted one 
thirty-fifth in value of the marsh and other commonable lands, in lieu 
of his rights, and the rector and vicar 193a. 3r. in the West Fen, 
in lieu of both great and small tithes. A public road, called Watson's 
Hum, was set out, 30ft. wide. The Award is dated 19th November, 
1833, and is deposited at the Sessions House, Boston, and the charge 
for copying, as fixed by the Act, was fourpence per sheet of 72 words. 

The allotment belonging to this parish in the West Fen was 
transferred by order of the Local Government Board, in 1880, con- 
firmed by the Act 44 Vict. c. 17, to Sibsey. 

Fishtoft. — The principal sewer is the Graft Drain, which com- 
mences at the northern extremity of the parish, near Willoughby 
Hills, Und, running nearly through its centre terminates at the river 
Witham, a Utile above the outfall of Hobhole Drain. It was formerly 
"a creek of considerable magnitude, which flowed from near Fishtoft 
Church to the neighbourhood of the present Hobhole Sluice, and it 
is stated that persons still living remember fishermen drying their 
nets on the Churchyard wall." 

In 171 1, a Law of Sewers was enacted for erecting anew Gote 
where the old Fishtoft Gote formerly stood, which had blown up 
and become dilapidated. The new Gote was made of good and sub- 
stantial wood and timber, 40ft. long, 3ft. Sin. wide and 4ft. deep, 
with two doors, hung on hinges. Robert Clarke and Thomas Lote 
of Fishtoft, were appointed Surveyors General of the work ; and an 
order was made on the owners of land in the parish for the cost, 
which amounted to ^243 8s. 8d. 

The portion of the creek between the Sluice and the river was 
known as ' Scotia Creek.' This name was taken from a steam 
boat, named the Scotia, which traded between London and 
Boston, before the river was straightened and improved, and was 
docked in this creek. 

Within the last few years, owing to a defect in the Gote, it has 
been abandoned, and the drainage diverted into Hobhole Drain. 

The lands allotted to thisParish in the East and West Fen, con- 
taining 2,794 acres, and other commonable and waste lands, were en- 
closed under an Act obtained in iSio. The preamble recites that 
there were in this parish several open fields and ings, contain- 
ing together 2,795 acres, and marshes containing 95 acres ; and that 



7i 



this common land was intermixed and dispersed, and, therefore, in- 
capable of improvement, and it was desirable that it should be 
divided and inclosed. This commonable land consisted principally 
of allotments in the East, West and Wildmore Fens. There were also 
some small pieces of waste land within the boundary of the parish, 
and some salt marshes, which had accreted on the coast. The Com- 
missioners appointed by the Act to divide this land were John Bur- 
cham of Coningsby, William Whitelocke of Brotherton, and 
Charles Wedge of Westley Bottom ; but the award was subsequently 
made by William Simonds, William Porter and Samuel Vessey. 
Their remuneration was fixed at three guineas a day, while engaged, 
and was to include travelling and other personal expenses. They 
were empowered to alter the roads, to make drains where required ; 
to allot a plot, not exceeding two acres, for the repair of the highways,' 
(the herbage from the same to be let by the Highway Surveyor) ; to 
allot to the Rector, in lieu of all tithes, a plot of land in the West or 
Wildmore Fen, equal in value to one-fifth part of all the arable land 
in the parish, which was in cultivation at the time, and one-tenth of 
the open fields and ings, and one-ninth of the marshes and other 
commonable lands. The cost of the enclosure was to be met by the 
sale of sufficient land. 

The public roads set out under the award were, the Hum 
Road, 30ft. wide ; Gay's Field Road, 30ft. ; Bailey's Acre Road, 
30ft. ; Church Green Road, 40ft. ; Burton Croft Road, 30ft. ; 
Clamp Gate Road, 30ft. ; Penhill Field Lane, 30ft. ; Wythes 
Road, 30ft. ; Freiston Low Road, 30ft. ; Freiston High Road, 
60ft. ; Ings Road, 15ft. ; Medlam Drain Bank, 50ft. ; Whistley 
Bridge Road, part 15ft., and the remainder 30ft. ; Mere^ Booth 
Road, part 20ft., and part 40ft. ; and Leeds Gate Road, 25ft. 

The award is deposited at the Sessions House, Boston. 

The outlying portion of Fishtoft, then inclosed, was taken from 
the Parish in 1SS1 and added to other Parishes under the Divided 
Parishes Ad, that in Wildmore Fen being transferred to 
Langrick-ville, and that in the West Fen, known as Fishtoft Fen, 
to Frithville. At the same time, land at Willoughby Hills and Long 
Hedges, taken from the parish of Boston, was added to the Parish 
of Fishtoft. 

About a hundred years ago the area of the parish was increased 
by the enclosure of 176 acres of salt marsh from the estuary, now 
known as the Milk House Farm ; and by another enclosure of 
50 acres, being part of the bed of the old river and known as the Blue 
Anchor Bight. When the new cut was made for the river Witham 
through Burton's Marsh, in 1S33, a small part of the parish was severed 
and is now divided by the channel of the river. In 1872, another 
small enclosure was made and added to the Milk House Farm, but 
the greater part of this enclosure was taken for the new bed of the 



ALTERATION OF 
PARISH. 



ENCLOSURE OF 

SALT MARSH. 



DRAINAGE. 



ENCLOSURE OF 

MARSHES. 

4S Geo- iii, 1808. 



ALTERATION I 
PARISHES. 



■ EA BANKS. 



72 

Outfall. In the Court of Sewers' verdict the Parish is divided into 
two parts, namely Fishtoft and Fishtoft Hundred. 

Freistok and Butterwick. — These Parishes are drained by a 
number of small sewers, discharging by culverts emptying into Hob- 
hole Drain. The lands lying outside the Roman Bank in Butter- 
wick drain by a sluice in the sea bank, about half a mile below the 
Coastguard station. 

In 1733, a Petition was presented to the Court of Sewers, by 
the parishes of Freiston, Butterwick and Fishtoft Hundred stating 
that there was a great want of fresh water for the cattle, and that 
this could be supplied by means of a water engine placed near the 
Howdyke Drain in Freiston, and that this engine would also be 
useful in better draining the parish. The Court accordingly made an 
order sanctioning the erection of the engine. 

In the beginning of the present century, an Act was obtained 
for embanking the salt marshes in the parishes of Freiston and 
Butterwick, and for enclosing the same and also other common 
lands. The area of land embanked from the sea, lying outside the 
Roman Bank, was 300 acres. The open fields and ings enclosed were 
1,500 acres and also about 100 acres of waste ground. A Committee, 
consisting of John Linton, Samuel Barnard, John Coupland, Richard 
Hanson, William Plummer, Richard Bazlinton and Henry Cook, 
was appointed to superintend the works relating to the embanking 
and draining of the marsh, which 'were to be carried out under the 
direction of an engineer. The Enclosure Commissioners were John 
Burcham of Coningsby, William Whitelock of Brotherton, and John 
Bonner of Langton, their remuneration being fixed at three guineas a 
day, including expenses. They were directed to enclose and allot 
the commonable lands, alter roads and make drains and sluices, 
where necessary ; to allot 2 acres to the Surveyors of Highways for 
the purpose of getting materials for the repair of the roads ; to sell 
sufficient land to pay expenses, and to allot the remainder in the pro- 
portion of one half to the owners of houses having common rights 
and the other to owners of land and of the tithes. On 
completion of the Enclosure Works a Surveyor was to be appointed 
to take charge of the same by the majority of the owners of the 
marshes present, at a meeting to be held on the Thursday in Easter 
week. The Surveyor was empowered to levy rates for the mainten- 
ance of the bank. A special rate, not to exceed ^*io an acre, can 
be laid at a meeting of not less than three proprietors. 

The Allotments in the West Fen belonging to Freiston were trans- 
ferred to the new Parish of West Fen, and those in the East Fen be- 
longing to Butterwick, to Leake, under an order of the Local Govem- 
mentBoard of Dec.i88i,wMch was confirmed by the Act 44 Yict.C.xvii. 

The ancient sea bank in this parish is nearly three miles in 
length. It suffered very severely during the great tide of 1810, 



73 

after which it was heightened and strengthened. The duty of keep- 
ing it in repair devolved on a great number of the owners of land in 
the parish, whose respective lengths were set out by boundary posts. 
There are no less than 900 portions of bank so set out, the propor- 
tion being calculated at the rate of 5^ft. of bank to one acre of 
land. By an order of the Court of Sewers the bank is now repaired 
by the Dykereeves, the cost being paid out of the dykereeve rate. 

In 1891 a petition was presented to the Court of Sewers, pray- Boston Court of 
ing that the whole of the Sewers' work in the parish might be done Minutes 
by the Dykereeves, but it was held by the Court that the petition y ' * *' 

could not be legally granted. 

Benington. — That part of this parish which is inside the drainage. 
Roman bank, is drained by sewers, discharging into Hobhole drain. 
The land outside the Roman bank discharges its drainage at Ben- 
ington Gowt in the sea bank, and by another smaller sluice about 
three-quarters of a mile more to the north. 

In 1815 an Act was obtained for embanking and enclosing the 



EMBANKMENT 
AND ENCLOSURE 



common lands in this parish, consisting of S27 acres, allotted to the 

r ° ' ' 55 Geo. lii, c. 86, 

parish in the East Fen by the award made under the Act of 1801. 1815. 

A plot, containing 400 acres, was allotted to the Rector, in lieu of all 
tithes. In 1880 this outlying portion of the parish in the East Fen 
was transferred to Leake. 

The marsh enclosed outside the Roman Bank is about one 
mile in length, and half a mile wide. 

Leake. — This parish is drained by sewers, which discharge into drainage. 
Hobhole drain, the principal outlets being at Benington and Simon 
House bridges. The land outside the Roman bank discharges its 
drainage by a sluice in the sea bank, which was probably built in 
1749, as an order was made by the Court of Sewers at that time 
for a new outfall sluice to be erected for Leake and Leverton 
parishes. 

In 1810 an Act was obtained for enclosing and dividing the inclosureact. 
common lands, and for making provision for the maintenance of the 5«Geo^m,c.i27, 
new sea bank. The Act provides for a meeting of the owners of 
lands, to be held yearly on the Thursday in Easter week, when a 
surveyor is to be appointed, and a rate laid for the maintenance of 
the new sea bank, and also of the ancient sewers bank, and all 
other works connected therewith. 

The allotments to this parish, under the Fen Enclosure Acts, 
in the East Fen, amounted to 1,523 acres. 

The outlying lands, consisting of allotments in the East Fen 
in the Parishes of Benington, Boston, Butterwick, Leverton and 
Revesby, were transferred to this parish in 1881. 

Leverton. — This parish is drained by sewers which discharge 
into Hobhole drain, the principal outlet being at the Ings Bridge. 
The land outside the Roman bank discharges its drainage by two 



ALTERATION 
PARISH- 



DRAINAGE. 



SEA BANKS* 



74 

sluices in the sea bank, the principal of which is 4ft. in diameter. 
In 1735 this parish complained that the Benington land, being higher 
than theirs, caused injury by overflowing the land from Scott's dyke ; 
and an order was made by the Court of Sewers that Benington should 
embank Scott's dyke and should pay dykereeve rate to Leverton 
for the Ings land which drains to Leverton drain. 
i.closuhe «ct. In 1810 an Act was obtained for inclosing the common lands 

50 n&isio c ' an< ^ providing for the repairs of the new sea bank. 

A tract of marsh land containing 395 acres had been embanked 
in 1801, at a cost of ^"5,000. The bank in this parish is ij miles 
long and about half a mile nearer the sea than the old bank. Xo 
sufficient provision was made for the maintenance of the banks. It 
was therefore provided by the Act of 1810 that an annual meeting 
should be held on Thursday in Easter week, when a Surveyor was 
to be appointed and rates laid. The Surveyor was empowered to 
maintain and repair the new bank and the ancient sewer's bank, and 
the drains, sluices and other works belonging to the enclosed land. 
The Commissioners appointed to allot and divide the common lands 
were Samuel Vessey, William Simonds and William Porter. 

The outlying portions of this parish in the West Fen were trans- 
ferred by the Act 24 Vict. c. 17, in 188 1, to the new parish of West 
Fen, and those in the East Fen to Leake. 

The amount raised by special taxation for the sea banks, accord- 
ing to the return of 1892-3, was £10, of which ^"16 was spent on 
works and £1 on management. In the previous year, work cost 

Wrangle. The newly enclosed land in this parish is drained 
by sewers which discharge by sluices in the sea bank. The 
remainder of the parish discharges its waters into sewers which 
communicate with those of the Fourth Witham District, and through 
them into Hobhole Drain, the principal outlet being at Lade 
Bank. 

In 1807 an Act was obtained for enclosing and dividing Wrangle 
47 Geo. in, 1807. Common, containing 1 ,250 acres, and also other common lands amount- 
ing to 150 acres. The Commissioners for carrying out the Act were 
John Burcham of Coningsby and William Whitelock of Brotherton. 
The Commissioners were empowered to make such drains and roads • 
as they considered necessary, to allot two acres of land to the Sur- 
veyors of Highways for the repair of the roads ; 35 acres were to be 
allotted in satisfaction of the manorial rights ; one-ninth part of the 
common was to be allotted to the Impropriator of the tithes, and a 
plot equal in area to one-fifth of the arable lands within the parish, 
and two-sevenths of all the other lands. One moiety of the re- 
mainder was to be divided amongst the owners of houses in Wrangle, 
having right of common, and the other half amongst the owners of 
land having right of common. 



ALTERATION OF 
PARISH. 



EXPENDITURE. 



DRAINAGE. 



INCLOSURE ACT. 



CLOSURE AND 

EMBANKMENT 
ACT. 



75 
A tract of marsh land outside the Roman bank about half a M,noH "=""■ 

URE> 

mile in width was enclosed, in this and the adjoining parish of 
Friskney, in the year 1808. 

Friskney. This parish is in the Lindsey Division, but is duiuxc. 
within the jurisdiction of the Boston Court of Sewers. The sewers 
in this parish discharge into the Fodderdyke and other drains belong- 
ing to the Fourth With.im District and thence into Hobhole. The 
marsh enclosure, outside the Roman bank, drains through a sluice in 
the new bank. 

A large area of low land in this parish was, previous to its T " E FENS - 
enclosure, generally flooded for six months in the year, the water oidfieid's Wain- 
seldom entirely subsiding until the month of May, or later. The 
fen land was known as the Moss-berry or Cranberry Fen, from the 
quantities of cranberries which grew in it. In some, favourable 
seasons, as many as 4,000 pecks were collected, the average being 
2,000. The price paid to those who picked them was 5/- a peck. 

Friskney was also noted for its decoys and the immense quantity 
of wild fowl caught in them. In one season, prior to the enclosure 
of the fens, ten decoys, five of which were in Friskney, furnished 
31,200 duck, widgeon and teal for the London markets. 

In 1809, an Adt was obtained for embanking and enclosing the ,„ 
salt marsh outside the Roman bank, and also for enclosing and 
dividing ' the moss or moor ground, open fields and commonable 49 Geo. ui, 1809, 
lands.' A Committee was appointed under the Act for superintend- 
ing the embankment and the draining of the marshes, consisting of Sir 
Tames Winter Lake, Edward Greathead, Thomas Booth, Edward 
Shaw, the Rev. Joseph Walls, Joseph Hunt and Thomas Hunt 
Oliver, each being allowed five shillings a day for his expenses. 
The works were to be done under the direction of an Engineer 
appointed by the Committee, who were authorised to lay a tax on 
the owners of the marsh land for defraying the cost of embanking. 
After the work was completed, it was to be placed under the charge 
of a Surveyor, appointed annually, at a meeting of the proprietors to 
be held on the Thursday in Easter week, who was to be paid such 
yearly salary as should be thought reasonable at the time of his 
appointment. The Surveyor is authorized to lay an acre rate, such 
being approved by a majority present at a meeting of the proprietors. 
In default of payment, an application may be made to a Justice of 
the Peace for the parts of Lindsey to order a distress. 

The Act also directs that the owners and occupiers of the newly 
embanked marshes and also of the old embanked marshes shall 
keep the boundary ditches 4ft. wide, at the top, and 3ft. deep, and 
cause the same, from time to time, to be roaded and scoured, and 
bridgesand tunnels to be laid where necessary. In default, after 14 days 
notice, the work is to be done and the defaulter charged with the 
cost. 



7 6 



BANK RATES. 



THE HAVEN. 



DRAINAGE. 



Oldfield. 



For enclosing and dividing the common land, Anthony Bower 
was appointed Commissioner. The usual powers were given to make 
roads and drains ; two acres were to be allotted to the Surveyor of 
Highways for the maintenance of the roads ; one thirtieth part of 
the commonable lands to the Duchy of Lancaster as owner of the 
manorial rights ; one half of the remainder amongst the owners of 
houses having right of common, and the rest amongst the 
owners of land having right of common. 

The Award, when enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace for the 
Parts of Lindsey, was to be deposited in the Church at Friskney. 

The area of the Fen Land was 813 acres, and there were also 
137 acres of other common land. The area of the marsh enclosed 
from the sea was 620 acres. 

The amount raised by taxation for the sea embankments in 
1892-3 was ^"24, the expenditure on works was £11 (in the pre- 
vious year ^22) and on management, ^5. 

Wajnfleet. This parish is in the Lindsey division and under 
the jurisdiction of the Spilsby Court of Sewers, but its general drainage 
system is intimately mixed up with that of the East Fen and the 
Fourth DistricT:. Wainfleet was a town in the time of the Romans, 
being then called Vainona. Dr. Stukeley says that the haven was 
then near where St. Thomas' Church stands, now called Northolme. 
It seems to have been 30ft. wide, a mile above the church, as 
appears by an old clough which existed there. The Haven was 
the only place on the coast where the vessels of the Romans could 
ride safely and find protection, and Wainfleet was the principal landing 
place for their station at Lincoln. A road was made from Wainfleet, 
across the Fens to Homcastle, and thence to Lincoln and Doncaster, 
and Salter's Gate is supposed to be the remains of it, as this commu- 
nicates with Friskney, where are the remains of salt works. Traces 
of a road are also visible from Wainfleet to Burgh, which was also a 
Roman station. 

Previous to the enclosure of the East Fen the drainage of this 
parish was under the control of the Spilsby Court of Sewers, and 
numerous records exist as to Commissions held to enquire as to the 
condition of Wainfleet Haven, and the drainage of the East Fen. 

From the earliest period of which there is any record it appears 
that the waters of the East Fen, and even part of those of the West 
Fen, drained into Wainfleet Haven. About the year 1532, a consid- 
erable part of the fen water was diverted to the Witham. The 
Adventurers who undertook to drain the East Fen in the middle of 
the 1 6th century, " by the advice of experienced artists in draining, 
finding that Wainfleet Haven was not a proper and fitting sewer 
for the Fens to drain by to the sea, enlarged the ancient sewers which 
led to the river Witham and Boston Haven." The further history 
of the drainage of this parish is dealt with in that of the East Fen. 



77 



INCLOSURE AND 
EMBANKMENT 



In 1 813 an Act was obtained for embanking, enclosing and 
draining the Salt Marshes in this parish, containing 500 acres, and ,CT 

also for enclosing and dividing about 60 acres of other common 53 mi^'iSi"!' "' 
lands. Anthony Bower of Lincoln, and John Burcham of Con- 
ingsby, were appointed Commissioners for carrying out the provi- 
sions of the Act. The former died before the enclosure was 
finished, and Samuel Bower was appointed in his place. The sum 
of three guineas a day, including expenses, was allowed for their 
remuneration. The usual powers for making drains and roads were 
given. Such portion of the common lands was to be allotted to the 
Bethlehem Hospital and the Duchy of Lancaster, as Lords of the 
Manor, as the Commissioners should deem equal in value to their 
manorial rights, and the remainder amongst the Commoners according 
to their respective rights. The Commissioners were also to embank 
the open salt marshes, and provide for their drainage and carry it 
through any ancient enclosures in the parish, if necessary. 
The owners and occupiers of the marshes to be embanked, and also of 
the then embanked marshes, were directed by the Act to keep their- 
boundary ditches 4ft. wide and 3ft. deep, and to cause the same from 
time to time to be roaded and scoured. 

After the embankment should be completed, the works were to be 
maintained by a Surveyor, appointed annually by the proprietors, at a 
meeting to be held on Thursday in Easter- week. The Surveyor was 
empowered to levy an equal acre rate, and also to levy the same on 
such of the old embanked lands as were improved by the drainage to 
be effected under this Act ; the rate to be approved at a meeting of 
proprietors. In default of payment a distress warrant can be issued 
by a Justice of the Peace for the parts of Lindsey. 

By an amended Act, James Bradley of Boston was appointed 6 Geo. iv, 1855. 
as an additional Commissioner. By the first Act, the Commis- 
sioners were empowered to levy a rate on the owners of the marshes, 
for the purpose of the work, not exceeding ^20 an acre : by the 
second Act it was enacted that every proprietor, having a frontage of 
land towards the sea, should keep in repair so much of the said sea 
bank as might adjoin his frontage, and in case of neglect, the sur- 
veyor, afters three days' notice, was authorised to do the work, and 
charge the owner with the expenses. 

Sibsey. — This parish is in the Lindsey Division, but its drain- 
age is under the jurisdicttion of the Boston Court of Sewers. 
Before the enclosure of the Fens, the principal watercourse for 
the drainage was the Sibsey river, which ran from Cherry Corner to 
Cow Bridge, and thence along Frith Bank to the Witham at 
Anton's Gowt. This water course was straightened and improved 
and the part between Cherry Corner and Cow Bridge, known as 
Stone Bridge Drain, forms one the catch-water drains of the 
Fourth District System. Part of the drainage went to Hilldyke, 



DRAINAGE 



WAT. 



78 

which at one time was a watercourse of considerable importance, 
connected with the Witham, which boats were able to navi- 
gate. In 1568 a scheme was promoted for supplying the town of 
Boston with water from this stream. Boston must have had some 
right to this water, as, in 1376, in a pleading in the King's Bench, it 
was found that Boston and Skirbsck ought to cleanse the sewer 
from Hilldyke to the Witham, in consideration of which they had 
commons in the marsh of Bolingbroke. 
horotke cause- A large part of the water from the East Fen was formerly dis- 

charged by a drain which crossed the road at Nordyke Bridge, and 
went thence to the Witham. Owing to the bad condition of the 
Outfall, this part of the parish was frequently flooded, and it is re- 
corded that in the 13th century, two men, carrying a corpse from 
Stickney to ' Cibecy,' to be buried in the churchyard, were drowned 
when passing along Xordyke Causeway, and, at an enquiry, it was 
found that ' divers persons were every year drowned,' in consequence 
of which the Sheriff was commissioned to seize the land of the 
Abbot of Revesby, until security was given for the repair of the 
causeway, it being his duty to keep it in order, in consideration of 
lands which had been given him for the purpose. 

In 1 735 a new sluice, called Maud Foster, was built under an order 
of the Court of Sewers, in Boston Haven, and the drainage of Sibsey, 
in common with that of other lands to the east of it, was diverted from 
Anton's and New Gote, in the Witham above Boston, to the new 
outfall. The area of land in Sibsey taxed towards the new works 
was 2,400 acres. Subsequently, attempts were made to bring the 
water of the West Fen and also of the northern part of the East Fen 
into the new system, the Sibsey Cut being made from the south west 
comer of the East Fen, to Hilldyke, and an opening being made from 
the West Fen, by means of Medlam Drain, to Cherry Corner; and, a 
sluice which existed there being removed, the West Fen water was 
allowed to escape into Mill Drain. The controversy over this 
matter led to serious rioting, of which Sibsey was the centre. 

In 1 810 an Act was obtained for enclosing and allotting the 
50 Geo. HL common land awarded to this parish in the East and West Fens. 
Under this Act, ia. 3r. 25p. in Chapel field was allotted for the 
repairing of the Church. 

In iSSi an order was made under the Divided Parishes Ad, for 
transferring the outlying portion of the parish in the West Fen and 
adding it to Frith ville, whilst fen land in Frithville and Skirbeck was 
added to this parish. 

Kirtox Wapentake. 

Boston West. The description of the enclosure of this parish 
will be found with Boston East, in the Skirbeck Hundred. 

Skirbeck Quarter. The main outfall for the drainage of this 
parish is into the South Forty Foot Drain. A tract of land in the 



DRAINAGE 

BY MAUD FOSTER 

SLUICE, 



INCLOSURE ACT 



ALTERATION OP 

THE PARISH- 



79 



Hamlet, called Loate's Plot, containing 45 acres, drains into Wyber- 
ton Town Drain and consequently pays dykereeve rate to that parish, 
in accordance with a Law of Sewers. 

The sea or river bank in this hamlet has been a constant 
source of trouble and expense, and the records of the Court of Sewers 
contain numerous entries ordering repairs to be done. In 1734 a 
petition was presented that the bank, from the Shottles to Marsh 
corner, was very much out of repair and gone to decay, whereby the 
country was in great danger of being overflowed with salt water ; and 
asking that the bank should be repaired at the cost of the land- 
owners, and an order was made accordingly. The hamlet suffered 
very much from the great tide of 1S10, and again from that of 1815. 

A great part of the old sea bank is now inland, owing to several 
enclosures of marsh which have been made, but there still remains 
the length from the outfall of the Old Hammond Beck to the corner 
opposite Boston Dock. 

By the verdict of 1 862 it was found that the repair of this bank de- 
volved on the owners of seventeen different plots of land in the hamlet. 

In 1SS3 the condition of the bank below the Black Sluice had 
become dangerous, and the top had subsided below its proper 
height, owing to the settling of the foot of the bank into the river, 
caused by the deepening of the Haven and the scour o£ the 
tides and freshets, and an order was made by the Court for its repair. 
The bank was accordingly strengthened at the back, and raised. 
The cost of this work was ^270. 

It being held by the Court that these repairs were extraordin- 
ary, being occasioned by the alteration in the bed of the river, and 
not such as persons, liable by prescription, could fairly be answerable 
for, the costs were ordered to be paid by an acreage rate over the 
entire district that would be liable to be damaged by a breach. 
By a subsequent order, the rate was laid on the assessable value, and 
not by the acre. The following are the parishes on which the levy 
was made and the proportion allotted to each. 



Skirbeck Quarter ... 557 o 

Wyberton 2040 o 

Frampton : 3°4° 3 

Kirton 4S34 3 

Swineshead North ... 1043 o 



p- 
26 

o 
11 

7 



d. 

6 
9 
4 
3 
3 



Assessment, 
d. 
6 



£ 
69 

76 

50 

60 

13 



12 
10 

J 3 
S 
1 



DRAINAGE. 

Court oi Sewers. 

Minutes, 

Oct. 22, 1754. 



SEA BANK. 



Court ot Sewers 

Minutes, 

10 Nov. 1883. 



23 April, 1884 



The rate for Skirbeck Quarter amounted to is. 8d. in the pound. 

The fen portion of this hamlet lies about three-quarters of a 
mile west of Boston, between the North and South Forty Foot 
drains. It contains 276a. 2r. 2op. It forms part of Holland Fen, 
and was awarded under the Holland Fen Enclosure Ad. 

Skirbeck Quarter elects one member of the Black Sluice Com- 
mission, and the owners of land in the fen portion one member of the 
Second Witham District Commission. 



THE FEN 



? Geo. iii, 1767. 



8o 



INCLOSURE ACT. 

29 Geo. iii, c-3, 

I7S9. 



DRAINAGE RATES. 



THE FEN. 



The fen was enclosed under an AcT: obtained for Dividing and 
Inclosing the Common Fen belonging to Shirbeck Quarter in the Parish of 
Skirbeck. William Gee of Swineshead, Thomas Staveley of Kirton, 
and Edward Hare of Castor, were appointed Commissioners for 
dividing and alloting the land, and they were to be paid twenty 
guineas each for their services. 

The award, when executed, was to be enrolled with the Clerk 
of the Peace for the Division of Holland, and to be open toinspeclion 
on payment of a fee of one shilling and two-pence for every 72 
words copied. The award is deposited at the Boston Sessions' 
House. 

The old portion of the parish is subject to the dykereeve rate 
of the Court of Sewers. The fen is subject the sixpenny Black 
Sluice rate and to the sixpenny and eightpenny Witham 
Distridt rates. The whole parish is subject to the Witham Outfall 
tax. 

Wyberton. This parish is drained by a sewer called the 
Town Drain, which runs from the Hammond Beck through the 
centre of the parish, to the sluice in the old sea bank at Slippery 
Gowt, whence it has since been continued through a newly enclosed 
marsh to the channel of the Witham. 

in 1733 an order of the Court of Sewers was made that the 
then existing Sluice should be wholly taken down, and rebuilt with 
brick and timber, 38ft. long, 4ft. high and 3^ft. wide. The cost of 
this new sluice was ^297 us. 

Previous to the straightening of the river, the channel came 
close to this sluice. After the fascine work had been put in and the 
marsh grew up, this outfall silted up and became disused, the drain- 
age finding its way into the Hammond Beck. In the year iS64the 
Boston Harbour Commissioners embanked the marsh. On this 
being done, the Vestry of Wyberton required that an outfall for the 
drainage should be provided in the new bank, and further contended 
that, as the outfall of the sewers had become blocked up owing to 
the works of the Commissioners, they were bound to open up the 
drain across the marsh. After some litigation, the Commissioners 
agreed to do this. A sluice was built in the new bank and the 
drain cleaned out and deepened. The outer sluice is kept in repair 
by the Boston Harbour Commissioners, the Dykereeves of the parish 
having the management of the doors. 

There are 45 acres of land in Skirbeck Quarter and 562 acres 
in Frampton which drain by the Wyberton Town Drain and pay 
dykereeve rates to this parish. 

The allotment in Holland Fen awarded to this parish is situated 
about three miles north-west of the village, and is not divided from 
the rest of the parish. Access is given to that part of the fen lying 
on the north side of the South Forty- Foot Drain, by the Wyberton 



INCLOSURE ACT. 



8l 

Chain Bridge, across the Hammond Beck, and by the bridge over 
the Forty-Foot, on the main road ; and to Shuff Fen, by a brick 
bridge across the North Forty-Foot, known as Benton's Bridge. 

The allotments made to Wyberton, under the Holland Fen 
Award were, the Bridge Piece, containing 87a. or. 22p., on the south 
side of the main road from Boston to Swineshead ; part of the 
Middle Fen lying on both sides of the New Hammond Beck, 
169a. 3r. 14P. ; the Great Fen lying on the north side of the South 
Forty Foot drain, containing 473a. or. 2op., and Shuff Fen on the 
north sideof the North Forty-Foot, containing 261a. ir. 15P., making 
a total of 991a. 2r. op. 

In addition to the land in Holland Fen, there was also other 
common land, known as the Reaches Marsh, containing 25 acres. 
This land is described ' as formerly left by the sea,' and is part of the old 
bed of the river Witham, lying about half-a-mile north-west of 
Langrick Ferry. It was originally let by the parish in aid of the rates, 
the inhabitants, before it was inclosed, having exercised common 
rights over it. There was also another small piece of common land, 
containing four acres. 

In 1789 an Act was obtained for dividing, allotting, and enclos- 
ing the above described lands. Stanley Marshall of Freiston, 29 Geo. iii, 1789. 
Joseph Newman of Boston, and John Parkinson of Asgarby, were 
appointed Commissioners, their remuneration being fixed at ^"63, 
and £\ us. 6d. a day each, for every day engaged in viewing, 
valuing, exchanging, and allotting the ancient inclosures and other 
lands exchanged under the powers of the Act. 

The Commissioners were directed to set out, form, and put in 
good repair, a public road, 40ft. wide, across the Great Fen, from 
Wyberton Great Bridge to the bridge over the North Forty- Foot 
Drain, and from thence over Shuff Fen to the Turnpike-road lead- 
ing from Langrick Ferry to Swineshead, and such other roads as 
they might deem necessary. The owners of the land were not to be 
allowed to plant trees within fifty yards of the roads. 

Reaches Marsh was directed to be sold, and the proceeds ap- 
plied to defraying the expenses of enclosure ; and one-ninth in value 
of the whole fen, and a plot, equal in value to i88f acres of the 
average value, to be awarded to the Rector in respect of the tithes. 

The Award, after being enrolled by the Clerk of the Peace for the 
Division of Holland, was to be deposited in the parish chest in the 
church, and be open to any person interested, on payment of one shilling ; 
and for copies of any part, at the rate of two-pence for 72 words. 

The old part of this parish is liable to the dykereeve rate of the 
Court of Sewers. The fen land is in the Sixpenny District of the 
Black Sluice, it also pays the tax of the Second Witham District, 
and sends one representative to each Trust. The whole parish is 
liable to the Witham Outfall Tax. 



DRAINAGE HATES- 



82 



ENCLOSURE OF 
HARSH. 



DRAINAGE. 



THE FEN. 



About 300 acres of marsh land were embanked and brought 
under cultivation, about 1864-6, by the Boston Harbour Commis- 
sioners, Mr. Edward Black, and the Crown. 

Frampton. This parish is drained by a sewer which extends 
from the Hammond Beck to theWitham Outfall, where it discharges 
a small part of the drainage through a sluice in the bank. 

A portion of the parish, containing 562 acres, drains into the 
Wyberton Town Drain, and, in accordance with a law of Sewers 
made in 1754, pays dykereeve rate to that parish. 

The Allotment awarded under the Holland Fen Award is 
adjacent to the old enclosed land in the parish, lying about 3I 
miles north-west of the village. The Fen is divided by the New 
Hammond Beck and the South Forty Foot Drain, access being 
obtained over these by means of Baker's Bridge and Hubbert's 
Bridge. 
Holland Fen The Allotment consists of a part of the Bridge Piece, lying 

Award, 1767. between the Old and New Hammond Becks, containing 262a. 3r. 
i6p. ; part of the Middle Fen, lying between the New Ha mm ond 
Beck and the South Forty Foot Drain, containing 468a. 3r. ip.; and 
part of the Great Fen on the north side of the South Forty Foot, 
containing 526a. ir. 33P-; together, 1,258a. or. iop. There were 
also 10 acres of other commonable land in the parish ; the Holmes, 
containing 22 acres let by the parish in aid of the rates, and part of 
the Reaches Marsh, containing 100 acres and ' formerly left by the 
sea,' and part of the bed of the old river Witham lying about three 
quarters of a mile north-west of Langrick Ferry; also the common 
land known as the Mill Field, Spot Field, Whorley Dale Field, &c. 
enclosure »ct. An Act was obtained for dividing and enclosing these fens and 

24 Geo. m, 17S4. otn er common land in the year 1784. John Parkinson of Asgarby, 
Edward Hare of Castor, and Joseph Newman of Boston were the 
Commissioners appointed to carry out the work. They were to have 
^"63 as their remuneration, out of which they were to pay their 
expenses. They were directed to make such public roads, not less 
than4oft. wide, as they deemed necessary, and to allot the herbageof 
both the ancient highways, as well as of the roads set out under this 
Act, which should be made open, and not fenced on both sides, to 
the owners of the lands through which such roads passed. One- 
ninth part of the fen was to be allotted in lieu of tithes, and other 
land to the value of ^"io a year, and also 223a. ir. 25p. in lieu of 
tithes on the old land, and 22a. 2r. i6p. in lieu of tithes of Wyhes 
Demesnes. The Rector and the tenants of these allotments were given 
right of footway over the banks of the North and South Forty Foot 
Drains to the same. The Commissioners were also to set out to the 
Vicar and Churchwardens and to the Lords of the Manors of Earl 
Hall and Stone Hall a piece of the fen of the annual value of £20, 
for the benefit ' of indigent and industrious persons ' belonging to 



83 

the parish, who receive no weekly or monthly contribution there- 
from; which land was never to be let for a longer term than 4 years 
at one time, one moiety of the rent to be distributed in coal and the 
other at the discretion of the trustees. It was provided by 
the Act that the sum of £20, clear of all deductions, should be paid 
annually to the Vicar of Frampton by the owner of the great tithes, 
rectory and glebe lands, and that the Commissioners should allot 6 
acres of fen of average value for augmenting the vicarage. Power 
was given to put up fences and gates at the ends of any roads or 
highways, except turnpike roads, to prevent cattle from trespassing 
about the parish, which gates were to be maintained by the 
Surveyor of Highways. 

The Award, after being enrolled, was to be deposited in the 
parish chest in the Church and to be open to inspection on payment of 
one shilling ; a copy to be supplied of the whole or any part at the 
rate of two-pence for 72 words. The Commissioners were empow- 
ered to ascertain the value of the tithe on certain salt marshes 
which were likely to be enclosed, such value not to exceed one- 
seventh, or be less than one-tenth, of the value of the land em- 
banked. Tenants for life, or trustees holding part of the marsh, 
were empowered to borrow ^"3 per acre, on the security of the land 
enclosed, towards the cost of the work. The trustees of the Don- 
nington turnpike road were empowered to let Amber Hill, subject 
to the right of the Surveyor of Highways to get materials for the 
repair of the roads in Frampton, but no building was to be erected 
thereon. 

The Reaches Marsh is part of the old river "Witham, lying reaches marsh. 
between the North Forty- Foot Drain and the river, about three- 
quarters of a mile north-west of Langrick Ferry, and between 6 and 
7 miles distant from the village of Frampton. It was proposed to 
add this land to the parish of Coningsby, under the Divided Parishes • 
Act, but, this being opposed by the inhabitants, it still remains a 
portion of the parish. 

The old portion of this parish is subject to the dykereeve rate 
of the Court of Sewers, the fen portion to the Black Sluice Sixpenny 
District rate and the Second Witham District rate, and the whole of 
the parish to the Witham Outfall tax. The owners of land in the 
parish are entitled to elect one member of the Black Sluice Trust 
and those in the fen portion one member of the Second District 
Trust. 

Kirton. The main sewer in this parish, called ' Kirton Town's 
Drain,' extends from the Hammond Beck at Kirton Holme 
in a south-easterly direction to the sea bank at Kirton Skel- 
dyke, where there is a sluice, and thence along an open drain 15 
chains in length, across the marshes to the Welland. The length 
of the drain from one sluice to the other is over 8 miles. The sluice 



DRAINAGE RATES. 



8 4 



THE WELLAND 
OUTFALL. 



WELLED TAXA- 
TION, 1B67. 

30 and 31 Vict., 
c.195. 



THE FEN. 



in the bank at thejWelland end has 4ft. 6in.of waterway, and that at 
the Hammond Beck 5ft. gin. The level of the sill of the former, or 
sea sluice, is 4-8ft. above Ordnance datum, and that in the Hammond 
Beck 6-8gft. above. The bottom of the drain at Kirton Bridge is 
1 •4ft. above the sill of the sea sluice. Considerable difficulty has 
been found in keeping open the drain across the marshes to the 
Welland, from its tendency to fill up with alluvial matter. The 
sluice has frequently been closed and the whole of the drainage 
has at such times found its way to the Hammond Beck. 

In 1 71 5 the outfall sluice into the Welland was reported by a 
Jury of the Court of Sewers as defective, owing to the sandy founda- 
tion, and it was advised that a new sluice should be erected between 
Kirton and Fosdyke, and that the old one should be blocked up. A 
Law of Sewers was made ordering this work to be done. In 1881 
£"470 1 os. was expended in repairs and improvements of Kirton 
drain. In 1894 a proposal was made to erect a new sluice at 
the end of the creek running between the newly enclosed marshes in 
Kirton and Fosdyke and to connect the two banks, the estimated cost 
being ^"3,400, but this scheme did not receive the sanction of the 
Court of Sewers. 

In the session of 1 867 the Welland Commissioners obtained an 
Act of Parliament empowering them to raise further money. The 
area of taxation was extended, and included land in the parish of 
Kirton which is rated at fourpence per acre. The inhabitants 
petitioned against the Bill, contending that they derived 'no benefit 
from the works in the Welland, the sill of the Outfall Sluice being 
from 4ft. to 5ft. above low water in that river. (By the Welland 
Act of 1794 it was proposed to bring the outfall of the river Welland 
to Wyberton roads, and lands in Kirton and the adjoining parishes 
were to be made subject to a tax of twopence per acre. This 
scheme was not carried out, and, bj- the Welland Act of 1S24 the 
lands in Kirton were exempted from this taxation.) The Petitioners 
further contended that Kirton was sufficiently drained by means of 
the Outfall into the Hammond Beck, and only partially by the 
Welland, and that if better drainage were required, the Black Sluice 
Commissioners had power, by mutual agreement, to give a more 
complete drainage. A clause in the Act gave the right to claim 
exemption in case the parish were able to prove that Kirton was 
not drained by the Outfall of the Welland. If the Trustees after 
hearing the parishioners would not entertain their claim to exemp- 
tion, there was to be an appeal to the Quarter Sessions at Spilsby. 
As the Trustees declined to give any relief, the parishioners appealed, 
and the case was heard at the Quarter Sessions at Spilsby, in 1869, 
with the result that the parish remained liable to the tax. 

The land in Holland Fen allotted to this parish lies on the 
north side of the South Forty-Foot Drain, in the centre of Holland 



85 



Fen, and is about six miles long by three-quarters of a mile wide. 
Access from the older part of the parish is obtained by Hubbert's 
Bridge. There is also a portion of the fen on the south side of the 
drain, extending up to Kirton Holme, and along the north side of 
the old Hammond Beck. 

The area of land allotted to Kirton under the Holland Fen 
Award was 3,448a. or. 23P. There were also in the parish other 
common lands, known as the Meers, the Russian Ings, Little Hum, 
Kirton Ings, Little Ings, Maumsgate — otherwise Mornsgate — Middle 
Field, Grave's Field, Broad Field, Ax Head, Handtoft, Eau Bridge 
Field, Great and Little Mantle, Cerncroft, Hum Field, Skeldike 
Field, Bendike Field, Hallstock, and Bucklegate Field, containing 
altogether 600 acres. 

This land was enclosed and allotted under an Act passed in 
1772. The Commissioners appointed were Peter Packharnis of 



Benington, Thomas 



Hogard 



of Spalding, and John Hudson, of 



Holland Fen 
Award, 1707. 



ENCLOSURE ACT 

12 Geo. iii, 1772 



Louth. Their remuneration was fixed at ^"84 each. The expenses to 
be incurred in carrying out the Act were to be paid by an equal pound 
rate, or acre tax, levied according to the value of land allotted. 

Sixty acres in the High Fen, abutting, on the east, on the road 
leading to Langrick Ferry, were allotted to the Vicar in lieu of the 
vicarial tithes ; 310 acres and also 25 acres in the High 
Fen were allotted to the owners of the great tithes ; and, 
in addition to this, one-ninth part of the commons, in lieu of both 
great and small tithes and all ecclesiastical dues and payments, 
except Easter offerings, mortuaries and surplice fees ; and 10 1 acres 
to the Earl of Exeter, the Lord of the Soke of Kirton, in lieu of his 
rights of brovage, and as ' Lord Paramount ' or ' Lord and Owner 
of the Soil.' The remainder of the land was to be allotted in the 
proportion of eight acres to every house, four acres to every toft- 
stead, and the rest amongst the owners of the enclosed lands, in 
proportion to the rates paid to the dykereeve assessments. The 
Commissioners were empowered to make such roads, ditches and 
fences as they deemed necessary. 

The award was to be engrossed, and, after being enrolled with 
the Clerk of the Peace for the Parts of Holland, was to be deposited 
in the common chest of the Parish Church, a fee of one shilling 
being charged for inspection, and twopence for every 100 words 
for a copy of the whole, or of any part. 

The right of the parish to obtain materials for the repair of the 
roads from Amber Hill was confirmed, subject to the Trustees 
having power to let the same. 

The old lands in this parish are liable to the dykereeve rate of 
the Court of Sewers, but they are not liable to the Black Sluice tax, as 
the drainage by the Hammond Beck is an ancient right. The fen 
portion is in the Sixpenny District of the Black Sluice, and pays the 



DRAINAGE RATES. 



86 

rates of the Second Withmn District. The whole parish pays the 
Witham Outfall Tax. 

WlGTOFT, SUTTERTON, AlGARKIRK, FoSDYKE AND SwiSESHEAD. 

The drainage of the five parishes or ' towns ' of Wigtoft, Sutterton, 
Algarkirk, Fosdyke, and part of Swineshead is effected by what is 
known respectively in the different parts as the Five Towns, Four 
Towns, Three Towns and Two Towns Drain. This system of drain- 
age is connected both with the Hammond Beck and the Welland. 
The dividing line of the watershed is at Acre Land Clough, at 
Fishmere End, on the northern boundary of Wigtoft. North- 
west of this, the main drain is known as the Simon Weir Drain, and 
passes through Swineshead to the Hammond Beck, which it joins a 
little above the Kirton Outfall. About mid- way on the Simon Weir 
Drain are doors across the drain, pointing towards the Hammond 
Beck. Wigtoft is drained by two sewers r unning on the east and 
west side of the parish. The East Drain runs from Cawdrons Sluice 
to Fishmere End, and discharges into the Simon Weir Drain to the 
west of Acre-land Clough. The water of the West Drain runs 
partly north and partly south, the division being about mid-way 
between the turnpike road from Fosdyke to Swineshead, and that 
from Boston to Spalding. The northern portion joins the Cross 
Drain, and empties into the East Drain. The southern portion runs 
along the west side of the parish, and through Sutterton to the 
outfall at Fosdyke Bridge. From near Acre-land Clough one 
drain passes through the east side of Algarkirk parish and Fosdyke, 
to the Outfall near Fosdyke Bridge, a second, starting from the same 
point, crosses the main road from Boston to Spalding, and passes 
about mid-way between Sutterton and Algarkirk churches, crossing 
the main road to Fosdyke, to the same outfall. The length of the 
Simon Weir Drain from Acre-land Clough to the Hammond Beck 
is 3 miles 35 chains. The Five Towns Drain, from Acre-land 
Clough to the Welland, is 6 miles 20 chains in length. The highest 
part of the drainage system is at Acre-land Clough, from which 
point the drains fall both ways, the fall in the bottom being 2ft. 1 iin. 
to the Hammond Beck, and 5ft. to the' sill of the sluice in the Wel- 
land. There is no sluice at the Hammond Beck, but only an 
archway, having 5ft. 6in. water-way. The old sluice near Fosdyke 
Bridge, had 6ft. 6in. water-way. The area drained by the Five 
Towns Drain is 9,000 acres. In 1SS3 a new Outfall Sluice was 
"sui^L " built at the Welland, having 8ft. of opening, the sill being placed 
o-62ft- below Ordnance datum, or about 4ft. below the old sill. 
The drain was widened and deepened to adapt it to the new 
sluice, the bottom being made 8ft. wide. In floods, the water 
runs about 3ft. deep on the sill. In summer, the water is held 
up to 6ft. 6in. above the sill. The estimated cost of this clean- 
ing and deepening of the drain was £bb$>. The new sluice was 



FTVE TOWNS 



87 

erected by Messrs. Pattinson & Co., in 1881, under the direction of 
Mr. John Kingston, the cost being /"2,394. The deepening of the 
drain was let to Mr. Barwell. To cover the cost of these works a 
sum of .£"3,500 was borrowed in 1883, repayable within 20 years. 

For rating purposes the Five Towns Drain includes the lands in "»™<a area. 
Swineshead, which pay dykereeve rate and lie to the south of 
Black Jack Road, from Coney Hill to Pippin Hall Bridge, known as 
Swineshead South, and land in Wigtoft, Sutterton, Algarkirk and 
Fosdyke ; the Four Towns, the land in Wigtoft, Sutterton, Algar- 
kirk and Fosdyke ; the Three Toiviis, Swineshead South, Wigtoft, and 
Sutterton ; the Two Towns, Wigtoft and Sutterton. In each case the 
fen land is excluded, and only such parts of the parishes as are liable 
to dykereeve rates are taxed to the sewers rate. 

Under the River Welland Act of 1794. the lands in these parishes wellanotax. 
drained by the Welland were made liable to a tax of twopence per ^ an £ fj,5. Vlct "' 
acre as a contribution towards the cost of the intended new Outfall ; 
as this Act was not carried out, it was repealed by the Act of 1824. 
By the Act of 1867 the lands in the Five Towns District, except 
those in Swineshead, were made liable to a rate not exceeding 4d. 
per acre. The parishioners appealed against the rate, in the manner 
provided in the Act, but were not able to obtain any relief. 

A considerable area of land in these parishes was removed from 
the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers by the Black Sluice Act. The 
particulars of this, and of the enclosure of the common lands in these 
parishes, will be found described in the chapter on theB lack Sluice. 

The land in the old part of the parish is subject to dykereeve rate, drainage rates. 
and to the Witkam Outfall Tax, to which also the fen portion is liable. 

The allotments in Holland Fen made to the Parishes of Algar- algarkirk and 
kirk and Fosdyke are situated about nine miles distant from the rosDVKE rENS - 
villages of the parishes to which they were originally allotted and Award, 1767. 
from whichthey are now separated under the Divided Parishes Act. 

Algarkirk Fen is a narrow tract of land in Holland Fen, being 
about five and a half miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide, ex- 
extending from the South Forty-Foot Drain to Kyme Eau and bounded 
on the west by theSkirthand Holland Dyke. It isdescribed in the Act 
as comprising Clay Hills, Little Sand Hills, Great Sand Hills, 
Fleet Wood and part of the Common Rakes, and containing 2,380a. 
ir. 22p. Fosdyke Fen lies adjacent to the river Witham, the 
eastern boundary being the course of the old river, and the western 
a narrow strip of land adjacent to the North Forty-Foot Drain. It 
is described in the Act as comprising part of the Gowt Plot and 
part of Langrett Plot and as containing 879a. 2r. 3op. These fens 
are in the Sixpenny District of the Black Sluice and Second Witham 
District. The taxable area of Algarkirk Fen is 2,337a. ir. igp. and 
of Fosdyke Fen 887a. ir. 23P. Each of these allotments elects one 
member otthe Black Sluice and of the Second District Commissions. 



CLOSURE ACT. 



I76>. 



THE PARISHES. 



MARSH ENCLOS 
UHE. 



SUTTERTON 
ENCLOSURE ACT. 



88 

*™."«"jr" The Fen allotments were divided and allotted under an Act 

obtained in 1767. The Commissioners were Daniel Douglas of 
Falkingham, Thomas Hogard of Spalding, and Thomas Stavely of 
Kirton, each of whom was to be paid ^"63 for his services and 
expenses. They were empowered to divide and allot the land, and 
to set out roads and drains. 

The Award, when executed and enrolled with the Clerk of the 
Peace for the division of Holland, was to be deposited in the Common 
Chest in the Parish Church of Algarkirke cum Fosdyke, and to be 
open to inspection on payment of a fee of one shilling, and two- 
pence for every hundred words copied. 

»lter»t,o>. of The fen portion of the parish of Fosdyke was transferred to 

THE PARISHES C MT J 

Brothertoft Parish in 18S1. Algarkirk Fen was transferred to the 
new Parish of Amber Hill in 18S0. 

In 1S64 an embankment was constructed, enclosing the marsh 
land in Fosdyke bordering on the Welland Outfall, Mr. W. Bert 
being the Contractor ; and in 1S70 a second enclosure, extending up 
to Kirton Outfall, was made. 

The Act for enclosing the land awarded to Sutterton under the 

"^f u -" E ACT " Holland Fen Enclosure Award, containing 2,488a. 2r. 22p., and the 
2 Geo- iii, 1772. t> >t f 1 

other commonable lands was obtained in r772. Thomas Hogard of 
Spalding, William Elstob of London, and William Jepson of Lincoln 
were appointed Commissioners under the Act. Edward Hare of 
Castor was appointed Surveyor. By direction of the Act, 137a. ir. 
3op. of marsh land and 140a. in Rose Plaits were awarded to the 
Vicar in lieu of the tithes in the parish ; to the Impropriator of the 
great tithes, land to the value of ^"20 a year ; also to the Vicar 
and owner of the great tithes, one-ninth in value of of the common 
fen and marsh lands, of which the former was to have three-fifths 
and the latter two-fifths. The Lord of the Manor was awarded 86 
acres in lieu of his rights of brovage. A number of public roads are 
set out in the award, varying in width from 60ft. to 30ft. The Award 
is dated 25th March, 1774, and is desposited at the Sessions House, 
Boston. The fee for inspection, as directed by the Act, is one shilling 
for complete copies, or twopence for 100 words. It was also directed 
that a copy should be deposited in the Parish Chest 

The land awarded to Swineshead under the Holland Fen 
Award comprised the following places : Chapel Hill Hum, 
AwaSCi767^ adjoining the Witham five miles above Langrick Ferry ; part 
of Great Smeeth Hall, adjoining the North Forty-Foot at the 
North End of Kirton Fen ; part of the Common Rakes, on the 
north side of, and adjoining the South Forty-Foot Drain, on the 
west of Algarkirk Fen ; part of Far Cattle Holme, on the south 
side of the South Forty- Foot, between the Hammond Beck and the 
main road to Sleaford ; part of Brand End, on the west side of the 
East Plot ; part of the Rushes ; Creasy Plot, near Sykemouth, 



SWINESHEAD. 
THE FEN. 

Holland Fen 



INCLOSURE ACT. 



89 

the whole of First Cattle Holme ; part of Fore Fen, near Kirton 
Holme, on the west side of the Five Towns Drain. There was 
also other common land in the parish, called Sidecroft Common, the 
whole containing 2,095 acres. The owners of lands and toftsteads 
in Swineshead, together with those in Wigtoft, also had common 
rights over Wigtoft Marsh in Bicker Haven, containing 450 acres. 

This land was divided and allotted under an Act passed in 1773. 
The Commissioners for carrying out the Enclosure, were Peter Pack- 13 Geo. m, 1773. 
harniss of Benington, Thomas Hogard of Spalding, and William Fil- 
lingham of Flawborough. Each Commissioner was entitled to 
receive ^"84 for his services and expenses. The award, after being 
enrolled, was to be deposited in the parish churches of Swineshead 
and Wigtoft, and to be open to inspection on payment of a fee of one 
shilling, and twopence for every 100 words extracted. 

The Commissioners were authorised to make roads over such 
public and private lands as they deemed necessary, and to do all 
necessary ditching and fencing. The herbage of the roads was vested 
in the Surveyor of Highways, and was to be let by him for the bene- 
fit of the parish. The right of the parish to obtain materials for the 
repair of the road from Amber Hill was reserved. 

The expenses attending the carrying out of the Act were paid 
by an equal pound rate or acre tax. The Earl of Exeter, as Lord 
of the Soke of Kirton and as Lord Paramount of the Soil, was 
to be allotted 15 acres in Wigtoft Marsh. Two-thirds of the re- 
mainder were allotted to Swineshead, and one-third to Wigtoft. 
One-tenth of the Wigtoft allotment was set apart for the Impro- 
priator and Vicar, in lieu of the great and small tithes. One acre 
was allotted to the owners of houses, and haJf-an-acre to owners of 
toftsteads, and the remainder amongst the owners of land in the 
parish in proportion to the dykereeve rates paid. 

In Swineshead the allotment to Trinity College, as Impropriator, 
was 320 acres in Brand End Plot ; 20 acres near the Black Sluice 
Drain and the turnpike road ; to the Vicar a plot of the value of 
£5 a year ; and also to the Impropriator and Vicar one-ninth part 
in value of the common land ; to the Lord Paramount, as 
owner of one-third part of the soil and of the brovage, 72 acres ; and 
to the owners of the Manor of Swineshead, Swineshead Abbey or 
' Swineshead de-la- Mere ' and ' East Evening,' such quantity as 
the Commissioners should consider sufficient recompense ; five acres 
to each owner of a house ; two and a half acres to each owner of a 
toftstead ; and the remainder amongst the owners of the enclosed 
lands, in proportion to the amount they were assessed at to the dyke- 
reeve rate. 

In order to increase the value of the living of Swineshead, 
land to the value of ^30 a year, out of the quantity allotted to the 
Impropriator, was to be set aside ; and the Governors of Queen 



DRAINAGE BATES- 



ALTERATION OF 
THE PARISHES. 



HIGHWAY RATE 

OF NEW PART OF 

PARISH. 



90 

Anne's Bounty were authorised to contribute out of their funds a 
sum of ^100. 

The fen land is in the Sixpenny District of the Black Sluice, the 
area of land paying rates being 2,117a. ir. op. It is also in the 
Second Witham District. The parish elects one member of each of 
these Commissions. The old lands in the parish are subject to the 
dykereeve rate of the Court of Sewers, and the whole parish pays 
the Witham Outfall Tax. 

Under the Divided Parishes A<51, the fen land at Chapel Hill 
belonging to Swineshead was transferred in 1880 to a new parish, 
called Pelham's Lands. 

By an Order of Council (23 April, 1890), the following places, at 
one time extra parochial, but afterwards made into separate parishes, 
were added to Swineshead, viz., Gibbet Hills, Royalty Farm, 
Mown Rakes, Little Brand End Plot, and Great Brand End Plot. 

After the amalgamation, these places were rated to the High- 
way rate of the parish. This liability was contested, on the 
ground that when this land, part of Holland Fen, was enclosed, it 
was, with other lands, sold under the Act of 1767, to pay the cost of 
the enclosure, and that under the Local Enclosure Act, it was 
exempted from taxation during the first lease. The case, Shaw v. 
Sh ™°£g£ kori " Thorpe, was tried before Mr. Justice Wills and Mr. Justice Charles, in 
1893, who held that, as the purpose for which the exemption was 
originally made no longer existed, the land was not exempt from the 
parochial rates. 

In i83i a petition was presented to the Court of Sewers, pray- 
ing that the land on the north of Black Jack Road in Swineshead, 
with the Fen Houses, should be made into a separate level for rating 
to the Court of Sewers, on the ground that this land did not drain 
to the river Welland, and an order was accordingly made that the 
Minntes, parish should be divided into two levels, one on the north and the other 
13 May.'issk on the south of the Black Jack Road, and separate dykereeve rates laid 
on each. 
wigtoft. The area f f en land in Wigtoft parish allotted under the 

Holland Fen Award, of 1767, was 994a. ir. 34P. There 
were also in the parish other common lands, known as Green 
Row Common, Asperton Common, Easthorp Common and Burtoft 
Common, and other waste land, containing altogether 30 acres. 

This land was divided and allotted under an Act passed in 

12 Geo. iii, a 113, ^1T^' 

1Tn ~ The tract of land known as Wigtoft Marsh, over which the 

parishioners, in common with those in Swineshead, had rights, was 

13 Geo. m, 1773. divided and allotted under the Swineshead Enclosure Act of 1773. 

The Enclosure Commissioners apppointed under the A<51 were, 
William Jepson of Lincoln, Thomas Hogard of Spalding and William 
Elstobb of London. They were to be paid ^"63 for their remunera- 



FORMATION OF 
TWO LEVE LS- 



I-HE FEN. 



INCLOSURE ACT 



91 



tion. The expenses of carrying out the Act were to be defrayed by 
' an equal pound rate or acre tax,' according to the value of the land 
allotted. The allotment to the Vicar was to consist of 60 acres at 
the east end of Sykemouth, and to the Vicar and Impropriator land 
of the annual value of £120, and also one-tenth of the whole fen in 
lieu of tithes, one-third of which was to belong to the Vicar. To the 
Lord of the Soke, for his rights as Lord Paramount, or owner of one- 
third part of the soil and of the brovage, 33 acres ; to every owner 
of a house in the parish five acres ; to every owner of a toftstead 
two-and-a-half acres ; and the remainder amongst the owners of 
land, according to their assessment to the dykereeve rate. 

The Commissioners were empowered to set out such public or 
private roads and to make such ditches and fences as they should 
deem necessary. 

The award, when engrossed and enrolled, was to be open to in- 
spection on payment of one shilling, and a copy supplied at the rate 
of twopence for every 100 words. A copy was to be deposited in the 
common chest in the parish church. 

The right of the Surveyor of Highways to obtain materials from 
Amber Hill, for the repair of the roads, was continued, and no build- 
ing was to be erected thereon. 

The old portion of this parish is subject to dikereeve rate. The 
fen portion is in the Sixpenny District of the Black Sluice, the 
rateable area being 981 acres, and in the Second iVitham District. 
The whole parish is liable to the YVitham Outfall Tax. 

Gosbertox, Quadring AND Sukfleet. — The Main Drain for 
such parts of these Parishes as are not in the Black Sluice district 
is the Risegate Eau, which extends from the Hammond Beck in 
Gosberton Risegate, to the Welland, about a mile above Fosdyke 
Bridge. The length between the two points is seven miles. The 
drain has an outfall at both ends, the natural division for the flow 
of the water being about midway at Belney Bridge, the lands on the 
west side of the bridge draining to the Hammond beck, and those 
on the east side to the Welland. 

There is frequent mention made of this Sewer in the records 
of the Court of Sewers. In the reign of Edward III, upon an in- 
quisition taken at Gosberchirche, it was found that " the Sewer of 
Risegate had gutters which ought to be repaired and maintained by 
the towns of Gosberchirche and Rysgate and that it was obstructed 
by Ranulph de Rye towards the marsh, and likewise that it ought 
to be of the same breadth and depth, and that there ought to be a 
Sluice betwixt the marsh and it, of sixteen feet wide ; and that the 
course of that Sewer, which towards the sea was called Newe Ee- 
gate had wont anciently to run directly through the midst of the 
marsh in Gosberchirche belonging to the Abbot of Peterborough, 
until 36 years before, and that, by the flowing of the sea and of the 



risegate: eau. 



Dngdale. 



9 2 

fresh water, it became obstructed, and thereupon by force made 
itself another current, which it then held." 

In Queen Elizabeth's reign the Commissioners of Sewers sitting 
at Boston found that " the sewer called the Merlode {Oust Mer Lode) 
could not, without an excessive charge, carry away the water falling 
thereinto, nor have any fit place at the outfall thereof, whereon to 
erect a sufficient gote, and decreed that it should be secured and 
made 16ft. wide and 6ft. deep, from the infall out of the fen unto a 
certain place called Elwood Elmes, by the townships of Quadring and 
Donington ; and that thence it should be turned and made of the 
like breadth and depth, at all times henceforth, by the inhabitants of 
Quadring to Gosberton Ee, and that at the falling thereof into the 
said Ee there should be a substantial stone bridge made and 
erected for the public roadway there at the charges of Quadring and 
Donyngton, and likewise a dam at Partye bridge ; and that the 
inhabitants of Quadring and Donington should for ever after enjoy 
for the commodity of their said watercourse of Merlode the same 
drain called Gosberkirk Ee, under the sea dyke, from the infall of 
Merlode thereinto ; and from the said dam to be made towards the 
sea unto the gote which thenceforth should be appointed to be made 
for them and their said drain of Merlode by all the limits thereof, 
unto the outfall of that their drain into the sea at their private drain. 
In consideration whereof they decreed that the townships of Quadring 
and Donington should make another sufficient drain in Gosberkirke 
Ee to stop and turn the watercourse of Rysegate out of and from the 
old course thereof, towards the sea dyke aforesaid, at a place in Gos- 
berkirke, near unto Challan bridge, where the}- decreed that a bridge 
should be made and set up at the charge of the townships of Quadring 
and Donington ; and that there the townships should scour a new 
drain from thence, of the like breadth and depth, which should be 
called the Isew Ee of Surflet and Gosberkirk ; the accomphshing of 
these directions being most beneficial to the receipt and speedy con- 
veyance of the waters both of Kesteven and Holland from the said 
old course in Rysegate Ee by the same New Ee in form before 
recited." By a subsequent decree, made at Helpringham in Queen 
Elizabeth's reign, " it appearing that the Xew Gote, set in the sea 
dyke at Surfleet at the charge of the inhabitants of Donyngton and 
Quadring, did of a sudden, after three weeks settling thereof, sink into 
a quicksand, it was ordered that the same should be made again 
more substantially, and set upon a better and firmer foundation."' By 
the same commission it was also ordered " that upon the sewer called 
Newdike two new bridges should be erected at Rysgate Ee mouth, 
by the inhabitants of Gosberkirke and Surflete in their limits, and in 
Quadring Up Fen against the common way running from Westrop ; 
and the other within the limits of Byker, in Hekendale Wathe, over 
to Hekendale Hills, of such height as boats might well pass under." 



NEW SLUICE. 



93 

At the time when these orders were made, Bicker Haven had 
not been enclosed, and was an open salt water estuary or creek, and 
Risegate Eau discharged into it at the upper end, the gote referred to 
above being that now known as Lampson's Clough. When Bicker 
Haven was enclosed Risegate Eau was carried across it by a new 
cut to an Outfall in the Welland, where a sluice was built. An 
illustration, showing Bicker Haven before Enclosure, will be found 
in Chapter IX, On the Welland. 

In 1710 a new Outfall Sluice was ordered to be built, and an 
assessment made, for payment of the cost, on the landowners in 
Gosberton, Surfleet, Quadring, Quadring Hundred and Donington, 
according to the Law of Sewers formerly made. In 1 884 an order 

°. . J T . . Boston Court of 

was obtained under the Land Drainage Act 01 1861, authorising Sewers.Minutes, 
the following works, and the borrowing of ^"7,630 to pay for the ' ' 
same, viz., (1) the making of a new sluice in the river Welland and 
diverting the course of the drain to the new sluice, 10 chains to the 
west of the old Outfall, the estimated cost of this work being 
^"3,500 ; (2) the widening and deepening the drains from the existing 
inner sluice to Lampson's Clough and Five Bells Bridge, and the re- 
moval of the inner sluice and Lampson's Clough, and the erection 
of a bridge in its place, the estimated cost being ^4,175 ; (3) the 
deepening of the Merlode drain at a cost of /340. The first work 
was to be charged on lands paying dykereeve rate in Gosberton, 
Quadring, Quadring Hundred and Surfleet, also lands in Gosberton, 
Surfleet, Quadring, Algarkirk and Sutterton, lying south of the 
Roman Bank, and west of the old Sea Bank ; the second work, on 
lands in Gosberton, Quadring, Quadring Hundred and Surfleet, sub- 
ject to sewer rate ; and the third work by lands in Quadring, subject 
to sewer rate. 

The old sluice in the Welland, erected in 1803, was superseded, 
and the new sluice erected in its place. The old sluice had an open- 
ing of 5ft. and its sill was 5 - 83ft. above Ordnance datum. This sill 
was subsequently lowered to 3ft. above, and in 1873 to 2-6gft. above, 
Ordnance datum. The new sluice has an opening of 8ft., and its sill 
is about gin. below Ordnance datum, or 3ft. below the sill of the old 
sluice. It was built under the direction of Mr. John Kingston, by 
Mr. J. Barwell, at a cost of ^"2,800. In heavy floods the water runs 
2ft. gin. above the sill, the summer level being 7ft. 3m. above. 
The deepening of the Risegate Eau and the Merlode Drain was done 
by Messrs. Cooke and Bennett. 

The taxable area covers g,ooo acres, but about 11,000 acres dis- 
charge their water by this drain, one part going to the Welland, and 
the other to the Hammond Beck. The marsh lands, which hitherto had 
not paid dykereeve rate, were brought into taxation for the new works. 

The sluice in the Hammond Beck has 7ft. 4m. of opening, and 
is 6ft. 3in. above Ordnance datum. 



GOSBERTON 
DRAINAGE. 



GOSBERTON FEN. 



94 

From the Hammond Beck to Lampson's Clough, Risegate Eau 
has to be maintained by Gosberton and Surfleet ; thence to the sea 
by these parishes in conjunction with Quadring and Quadring 
Hundred. 
draimce rates. The old lands in these parishes are subject to the dykereeve rate 

of the Court of Sewers. The fen portion is in the Eightempenny 
District of the Black Sluice, and each parish sends one representative 
to the Trust. The fen land is also subject to the Witham Outfall 
Tax. The lands draining by the Risegate Eau, east of Quadring 
Bank, and the road in continuation of this bank, leading to Pinch- 
beck, in the parishes of Quadring, Surfleet and Gosberton, are subject 
to the Welland Tax of fourpence an acre, levied under the A<5t of 
1867. These lands are free from the Witham Outfall Tax. 

In addition to the Risegate Eau, Gosberton and Surfleet drain 
by Lathom's or Lafen Lode, and the old Beche Drain. 

There are several cloughs and sewers, also connected with the 
Glen, for obtaining a supply of fresh water. 

There are 305 acres of land in Gosberton Parish which drain by 
the Merlode and pay dykereeve rates to Quadring. The fen land 
in this parish is in the Black Sluice District: and is bounded by 
Surfleet Fen on the north, the Beche separates it from Pinchbeck 
Fen on the south, the South Forty-Foot Drain is on the west, and 
the Hammond Beck Drain on the east. The district contains 1,170a. 
2r. 13P. and elects one member of the Black Sluice Trust. 

In 1799 an Act was obtained for dividing, allotting and inclosing 
Geo. m, 1799. the common fen droves and waste lands in Gosberton. The Act 
recites that this land in its then condition was of very little value, 
but was capable of improvement, and that it contained 1400 acres. 
William Ashton of Brandon, John Renshaw of Owthorpe, and 
William Golding of Donington were appointed Commissioners, with 
power to enclose, divide and allot the land, and were to be paid two 
guineas a day for their services. They were to set out such public 
roads as were necessary, forty feet wide. These roads were to be 
formed by a Surveyor appointed for the purpose, at the expense of 
the proprietors, and after being certified as completed to become 
public highways. The bank between Gosberton and Pinchbeck 
Fens, by the side of the higher land drain, was to be raised and 
strengthened to prevent the water flowing out of Pinchbeck Fen. 

The fen land in Surfleet lies between Gosberton and Quadring 
Fens, and between the Hammond Beck on the east, and the South 
Forty-Foot on the west. It is in the Eighteenpcnny District of the 
Black Sluice, its rateable area containing 760a. or. 31 p. It elects 
one member of the Black Sluice Trust. 

The Fen was enclosed under an Act obtained in 1777 for divid- 

i 7 Geo.iii, c.140, ing and enclosing the common fen, common marsh, common fields 

and waste grounds in the Parish of Surfleet. The total area dealt 



INCLOSURE ACT. 



SURFLEET FEN. 



INCLOSURE ACT. 



DRAINAGE RATES. 



QUADRING. 



95 

with by the Act includes, in addition to the fen which is in the 
Black Sluice District, the marsh lying near the Welland, formerly 
part of Bicker Haven, containing about 400 acres. 

Thomas Pilgrim of Heckington, John Hudson of Louth, and 
Benjamin Rippin of Kirton were appointed Commissioners fo r 
dividing and enclosing the fen, and they were to be paid sixty 
guineas each for their services and expenses. They were to set out 
the public roads necessary, 40ft. wide, which were to become, when 
constructed, public highways. The Commissioners were directed to 
erect two new engines for draining the Fen and also such banks, 
drains, sluices and bridges as they found necessary. The Award, 
when executed, was to be enrolled and deposited with the Clerk of the 
Peace for Holland and to be open for inspection on payment of a fee 
of one shilling, and two pence for every 100 words copied. 

The old lands in Surfleet are subject to the dykereeve rate of 
the Court of Sewers and the Fourpenny Welland tax ; and the fen 
lands, to the Black Sluice and Witham Outfall taxes. 

The principal drain in Quadring and Quadring Hundred is the 
Mer or Oust Mer Lode, which runs from Stong's Tunnel to Risegate 
Eau at Lampson'sClough and so to the Welland, and a branch called 
the Coin Drain. There are 305 acres in Gosberton which drain by 
the Merlode and pay dykereeve rates to Quadring. Quadring and 
Quadring Hundred have jointly with Gosberton and Surfleet 
to maintain the Risegate Eau from Lambson's Clough to the 
Welland. 

The fen land in Quadring in the Black Sluice District lies 
between the Ouse Mer Lode on the north and Surfleet Fen on the 
south, being bounded by the South Forty-Foot on the west and the 
high lands in Quadring and Gosberton on the east. It includes 
Quadring High Fen, Quadring Hundred Fen and the Shoff, 
Quadring containing 65a. 3r. 2op., Quadring Fen Shoff 1,859a. 2r. 
3p., and Quadring Hundred Fen 400a. ir. 7p., together 2,325a. 3r. 
4p. Each of these fens returns one member of the Black Sluice 
Trust. The whole are situated in the Eighteenpenny District, and 
are liable to the Witham Outfall tax. 

In 1775 an Act was obtained for dividing and inclosing the 
common fens, common meadows, common fields and waste grounds 15 Geo- «>> <=. 
in the Parishes of Quadring and in Quadring Hundred. The High 
Fen is described as containing, with the Shoff, 1,300a, and the Low 
Fen in Quadring Hundred, 1,100a. 

The Commissioners appointed were Daniel Douglas of Folking- 
ham, John Hudson of Louth, and William Jepson of Lincoln, who 
were to be paid seventy guineas for their services. 

The Commissioners were authorised to set out any roads re- 
quired, and to give directions for the erection of banks, sluices, 
bridges, drains and engines, as they might think convenient. The 



QUADRING FEN 



1NCLOSURE ACT. 



DRAINAGE. 



Dngdale. 



96 

public roads were to be sixty feet wide, and to be deemed high- 
ways. 

A copy of the Award, when executed and enrolled with the 
Clerk of the Peace, was to be deposited in the parish church of 
Quadring, so far as it related to that parish, and the other part in 
the parish church in Gosberton, and be open open to inspection on 
payment of a fee of one shilling, and twopence for every 100 words 
copied. 

Donington. — The ancient sewers in this parish have received 
notice from very early times. In the reign of Edward I., at 
an Inquisition held at Gosberton it was found that " the sewers of 
Scathergast, Swyneman Dam, and Swane Lode, in Donington, 
ought, and had used to be 16 ft. in breadth, and so deep as that 
the water might have a free passage ; and that they ought to be re- 
paired by the town of Donington, unto the river of Byker, which 
runneth to the sea ; and to be opened at all times, except when 
such an abundance of water the sewers could not suffice, but that 
the province of Holand would be drowned.'" In such case it was to 
be lawful for them to stop the said sewers. It was also found that 
the channel of Byker ought to be repaired by Byker. At a subse- 
quent Session it was found that the portion belonging to Byker ex- 
tended to Bondistac ; the town of Donington having to maintain it 
from Bondistac to Quadring, to the breadth of 24ft. ; the town 
of Quadring to repair it to Gosberton ; and the town of Gosberton 
thence to the sea (Bicker Haven.) The sewer here referred is that 
which runs through the village of Bicker, and along the northern 
boundary of Donington, and formerly emptied into Bicker Haven, 
but now discharges into the Hammond Beck. 

A large portion of this parish consists of fen and ing land. 
This tract, called tlu Xew Enclosures, lies to the east of the 
South Forty- Foot Drain, and is intersected by the old Hammond 
Beck. It is bounded on the north by Bicker Fen and Ings, on the 
east by the high lands in Donington, and on the south by Quadring 
Fen. It includes the parts known as the North Ings, the North 
Fen, West Dales, Gibbet Fen, Mallard Hum, Up Fen. Shoff Fen, 
and the South Ings. It comprises 3,100 acres, or about half the 
land in the parish. 

The land lying on the west of the Hammond Beck drains into 
the South Forty-Foot, and that on the East into the Hammond Beck, 
except a small area lying in the North Fen, which finds its way into 
the Forrj -Foot by a tunnel under the Hammond Beck. The surface 
of the land varies from 15 feet in the lowest part to 21 feet in the 
highest, above the sill of the Black Sluice, 12 miles distant. 

The Bridge End, or Holland, Causeway passes through this 
Fen. This was a road originally made by the Romans and its 
surface is raised considerably above the level of the adjacent land, 



97 

and before the Enclosure of the Fens formed a barrier to the water 
which was poured into the fen lying south of it from the numerous 
becks which came from the high lands. The maintenance of the 
west end of this bank devolved on the Abbot of St. Saviour's 
Priory, which stood at the west end of the road, where the hamlet of 
Bridge End now is, certain lands having been given to the Priory to 
provide the funds for this purpose. The eastern part of the bank 
had to be kept in repair by the inhabitants of Donington. A 
bridge over the Hammond Beck, then known as Peecebngge had 
been built by the Abbot of Spalding, who took toll of persons 
passing over it, and a Jury found that he ought to maintain it. 

In 1767 an Act was obtained for dividing and enclosing the inclosuhe »ct 
open fields, meadows, common fens and other commonable places 7 e \ 7 %\ c " 6j 
within the parish of Donington, and for draining and improving the 
same. Under this Act Commissioners were appointed to allot the 
common lands, and to make such roads, drains, bridges and engines 
as they thought necessary. The public roads were to be set out 
sixty feet wide. Bicker parish was to be entitled to get earth for 
repairing .Bicker Ing or the North Fen Bank. The Commissioners 
were to meet once a year, on the M onday in Easter week, to appoint 
an officer to manage the works and to collect the rates. On the 
death or resignation of a Commissioner, a new Commissioner was to 
be appointed by the majority of the proprietors. By this Act persons 
proved guilty of maliciously injuring the works were to be deemed 
guilty of felony. Under the powers of this Act the fen was drained 
by three wind engines with scoop wheels, two of which were erected 
for lifting the water off the low land into the Fort}'- Foot and one for 
lifting the water into Hammond Beck. One of these wooden wind 
engines remains in existence at the present time ; the others have 
been rebuilt. The length of the drain made under the powers of the 
Act was about seven and three-quarter miles. Arthur Young gives 
the cost of enclosure as ^"1,100 on 1,728 acres of land, the original 
value of which was ^380 and the improved value in 1799 
^681. 

The wind engines were only capable of lowering the water 2ft. Report, w. H. 
below the average surface of the low lands and 3ft. 6in. below w heeler. 
the average level of the whole district. In times of heavy floods ' a "- 

the water in the South Forty- Foot, before the improvement of the 
Outfall, used to rise at Donington Bridge three feet above the lowest 
land, the ordinary wet weather and winter flow in the drain being 2ft. 
5m. below the average surface of the low lands. The lower lands 
were consequently frequently flooded and the drainage was generally 
in an unsatisfactory state. """'?*" D ' s " 

The powers of the existing Commissioners, as laid down 
by the Act of 1767, were too limited to admit of their carrying out 
the required improvements, In 1884 this Fen was therefore con- 



THICT. 



g8 

tituted a Drainage District under the provisions of the Land 
Drainage Act. 1861, the provisional order to that effect being 
47 and48Vict^. confirmed by Parliament. The Drainage Board consists of twelve 
^ lSS,_ members, who are qualified by being proprietors, or heirs apparent, 
or agents to proprietors of not less than twenty acres, or by the 
tenancy of not less than forty acres. All persons paying drainage 
rates are entitled to vote at the election of members. 

The amount raised by rate in 1892-3 was ^"69. The expenditure 
in maintenance was ^56, and in management ^"39, total ^95. There 
was no outstanding loan. 

The fen land is subject to the Black Sluice Drainage Rate of 
eighteenpence an acre, the rateable area being 4,470a. ir. 2ip. 
Donington sends one representative to the Black Sluice Trust. The 
parish is also subject to the Witham Outfall Tax. 

Bicker. — The principal Sewer in thi<; Parish runs through the 
village, and was formerly known as the River of Bymr. It has 
been referred to in the account of the parish of Donington. The 
fen land in the Black Sluice District lies to the west qf the village, 
between the Hammond Beck and the South Forty- Foot Drain, and 
between Donington Fen on the south, and Swineshead Low Ground 
on the north. 

The fen and other common lands were enclosed under an Act 



DMURJteE. 



I RCLOSURE ACT. 



6Ge °rtw *" *^ passed in 1766, in which it is stated that the fen and open fields con- 
tained 2,300 acres, and included Priest field, Meeking Hill field, 
Wilson Dyke field, and Graft Bull Horn, containing together about 
100 acres, and the Church lands. 

John Landon of Milton, Joseph Robertson of Sibsey, and 
Samuel Elsdale of Surfleet, were appointed Commissioners to divide 
and allot the common land. They were directed to sell the out- 
lying pieces named above, in lots of 10 acres, towards paying the 
expenses ; to allot the Vicar a plot equal to an annual value of 
£700 and the Lay Impropriator of ^40 in lieu of tithes : the Lord 
Paramount and Owner of the Soil, iS acres ; and the Lords of the 
Manor of Bicker Beaumont, Helpringham-cum-Bicker, Whaplode 
Hall, and Huntingfield Hall, two acres each. Three-fifths of the 
remainder were to be allotted to the owners of houses and toft- 
steads in Bicker having right of common of the yearly value of sis 
shillings ; and two-fifths to the commoners. 

The Ing or North Fen Bank, which had from time immemorial 
been repaired with earth taken from Donington North Fen, was, in 
future, to be repaired in the same manner. Four and a half acres 
were set aside for providing materials for repairing the roads, the 
herbage of the same to vest in the Surveyor of highways. The 
Commissioners were to set out the necessary roads, which, if public, 
were to be 60ft. wide and to be deemed highways ; they were also 
to see to the necessary drains, engines and other works. 



99 

After the enrolment of the award with the Clerk of the Peace, 
the Commissioners were to hold a meeting annually, on the first Friday 
in October, at the Bull Inn, Donington, notice of the meeting being 
given at the parish church. At this meeting a Superintendent of 
the Drainage Works and a Collector of Taxes were to be appointed. 
On the death of any Commissioner, or on his vacating his office, the 
surviving Commissioners were directed to call the proprietors of the 
land together, to appoint a new Commissioner. Two Commissioners 
are empowered to act, and they have power to lay the necessary tax 
to maintain the works. 

Bicker Fen is in the Eightunpmny District of the Black Sluice, 
the area contributing being 2,56oa. 2R. i8p., and is liable to the 
Witham Outfall Tax. The drainage of the other portion of the 
parish is under the control of the Court of Sewers, and pays 
dykereeve rates. 



s< 



ROMAN BANKS* 



CHAPTER IV. 
South Holland. 

OUTH HOLLAND consists almost entirely of alluvial land 
boundary. ~J ajyj j s bounded by the river Welland on the west, the coast o 

the Wash on the north and east, the river Xene on the east, and th« 
South Holland or Shire Drain on the south, which separates it fron 
Plate 4 . the Bedford Level. 

The central portion, about 5 miles in width, lying on the nortl 
and south sides of the main road leading from Spalding to Suttoi 
St. Mar\-, was enclosed by banks constructed during the Romai 
occupation, the northern bank still being known as the Romai 
Bank and the southern bank as the Raven Bank. The outlets or th« 
drainage through the Roman Bank may still be traced in the name: 
' Moulton Sea End,' ' Holbeach Clough,' ' Fleet Hum,' « Gednej 
Dyke ' and ' Lutton Gate.' 

On the south of the Raven Bank was a tract of low fen land 
subject to inundation from the overflowing of the Welland and the 
Nene, and north of the Roman Bank was the coast of the Wash 
The general features and characteristics of the central portions sho? 
that it was inhabited in early times and there are also remains o 
Roman Castella at Whaplode Drove and Gedney Hill. The village 
are all situated in this central portion, and. from the names whicl 
they now bear, show that they owe their original settlement to th 
Saxons, the termination ton in Weston, Moulton, Lutton and Suttoi 
denoting that these were originally settlements of Saxon Chiefs 
the termination lode of Whaplode refers to the stream which run 
through it ; Fleet takes it name from the salt water creek no\ 
known as Fleet Haven ; Bech in Holbech means a boundary stream 
and the termination of Gedney, an island, or tract of land surrounde 
by water, inhabited by a Saxon family of the name of Geden c 
Gedden, hence Geden's Ey, shortened into Gedney. 

The coast gradually accreted outside the Roman Bank until th 
rccuihed. salt marshes extended northwards from the ancient bank, for 
width varying from 2 to 5 miles, the surface of this land being abou 
3 feet higher than that inside the bank, the level of the land betwee 
the South Holland Embankment and the Roman Bank, bein 
from 13 to 14 feet above the mean level of the sea, and that betwee 
Plate 5. tne R oman Bank and the Raven Bank from 9 to n feet. 



NAMES Or VII.- 



S»LT MARSH 



Tenj^taX. 



fig. 5. 




Ti0:U 



■\:'<\ : - : : : :';rJM\ ,-a^ .■^'•■^ (>'-\::' ■'■'■' I'x-'.-ki^i 



£urfleet 









T (pFlt&erv-w 




>CROWZ,J 



i frfc & 9 



NewJron. 

j The> figures km *e «7w»f the- 1 

1/0SV& above* mean sexu Te»»« 
&ovudv JJoUxwvA J)raimuje>Ji 

\ The- figures >7»s the. date, trhet 



SOUTH HOLLAND 



JuMiles. 



101 



The area of land which has been reclaimed from the sea in 
South Holland, between the Nene and the Welland, since the 
enclosure made by the Romans, is about 35,162 acres. 

The first notice that occurs as to these enclosures is that of a 
grant made by King James I to C. Glemmond and John Walcot 
of London, as nominees of the Earl of Argyle, of a certain marsh 
(mariscus salus) left by the sea in Wigtoft, Moulton, Whaplode, 
Holbeach, and Tydd St. Mary, which was to be drained at the 
expense of the Earl ; one fifth being reserved to the king, and 
also certain common lands to the neighbouring townships. In a 
subsequent document it is stated that the king, having granted to 
James, Earl of Carlisle, all salt or fresh water marsh grounds to be 
inned and banked" from the sea which belong to the king by his 
royal prerogative, the Earl of Lindsey and others named are 
directed to compose any difference which may happen between Sir 
Peregrine Bertie and Sir Philip Lunden (to whom the Earl had 
granted all the salt marshes within the counties of Lincoln and 
Cambridge, except Long Sutton) and the adjacent lords, freeholders 
and others who pretend to right of common in the marshes. 

An enclosure of marsh was made in the parish of Tydd St. 
Mary in 1632 containing 1121 acres, and lying between the old 
Shire Drain on the south and Dereham Drain (now the New South 
Holland Drain) on the north. 

Sutton and Lutton marshes, containing 6,760 acres, were 
enclosed in 1660. This enclosure comprises the land lying between 
Dereham Drain on the south, the bank running by Sutton Bridge, 
West Mere Creek and King John's House to Anderson's Sluice in 
Lutton Learn on the east ; then westwards, along the parish boun- 
dary to the Roman Bank at Lutton Corner, the west boundary 
being formed by the Roman bank, which ran due south through 
Sutton St. Mary to Dereham Drain. 

In 1660 a very extensive enclosure containing 17,374 acr es was 
made by certain Adventurers in the parishes of Gedney, Whaplode, 
Holbeach and Moulton. This enclosure comprised nearly all the 
marsh lying between the Roman Bank on the south and that after- 
wards enclosed by the South Holland Embankment on the north. 
The bank commenced near the Boat Mere Creek and went north- 
ward, past Drove End and the Red House, thence westward, north 
of Lapwater Hall and Leaden Hall, past Holbeach Old Outfall, 
then southwards to the old Guide House, then westward to Wrag 
Marsh and the Welland at Lord's Drain Outfall. 

In 1720 an enclosure of 1,332 acres was made near the Nene,the 
bank starting three quarters of a mile N.E. of Sutton Wash and 
running on the other side of the present channel of the Nene, to 
where the lighthouse towers are now, and then westward to Ander- 
son's Sluice. 



INCLOSURES 
FROM THE SEA, 



State Papers, 
Domestic, 1615. 



State Papers, 
1634. 



102 



Plate 4. 



THE FEN. 



SEWERS COBS' 
MISSIONS. 



Dngdale. 



In 1747 the Govenors of Guy's Hospital made an enclosure of 
528 acres adjoining the last, the bank running from near where the 
lighthouse towers are, northwards by Baxter's Sluice to Boat Mere 
Creek. Other enclosures, outside this, were subsequently made, one 
in 1806 and the other in 1865, containing together 944 acres. 

In 1793 the South Holland Embankment, or Sixteen Mile Bank 
was made, enclosing 4,595 acres ; this will be more fully described 
later on. Outside this, enclosures of 533 acres were made by John- 
son and Sturt in 1838, of 597 acres by T. Steer in 1840 and 1850 ; 
the Gedney enclosure of 360 acres in 1875 ; and the Moulton 
enclosure of 400 acres in the same year. These several enclosures 
will be found marked on the plan of South Holland. 

Partial attempts at the reclamation of the fen or southern part 
of South Holland had been made from time to time by the different 
owners. The Abbots of Crowland had constructed banks, enclosing 
the land round the Abbey, and made drains for carrying away the 
water. They also made a bank from Crowland to Spalding, in order 
to obtain a road between the two places, which assisted in keeping 
the flood water of the Welland out of this part of South Holland. 
The attempts made by other proprietors are shown by the names 
now existing, as ' Jiggin's or J en kin's Bank ' in Holbeach Fen, 
' Jay's Bank ' in Fleet Fen, ' Osgodyke Bank,' ' Weydyke * 
' Dales Bank,' ' Mill Bank ' and the ' Delph Bank.' Ingulph states that 
a large tract of land was reclaimed in the gth century in ' Holbeche 
and Capelode.' Several orders have been made by the Commissioners 
of Sewers respecting this district. In a Commission issued in the 
reign of Henry II (1178), it was recited that through the inunda- 
tion of the sea inestimable damage had happened. 

In 1294 an order was made for repairing the banks of Sutton 
Marsh, betwixt Scoft and Gedney. And it was also found that the 
towns of Tydd and Sutton "could not be preserved except the fresh 
water of Scoft near Trokenhou were restrained unto the breadth of 
four feet." In the reign of Edward II, Commissioners were 
appointed to inspect the banks and sewers upon the sea coast 
(betwixt Tid Brigge and Surflete Brigge), "which had been broken by 
tempestuous waves" and they were directed to be made higher and 
thicker. Numerous orders were also issued as to the size the principal 
water courses and sewers were to be made. It was also ordered " that 
Fishermen should not prejudice the common sewers by lepes, week, 
or other obstructions whereby the passage of the waters of Spalding 
or Pinchbeck towards the sea might be hindered " ; and it was 
ordained "that all persons, as well rich as poor, should be obedient to 
all mene works to be made as well in the sewers as in the marsh; 
and that every man having one messuage and ten acres of land 
should find towards that work one tumbrel ; and he who had less, 
one able man of eighteen years of age at the least ; and if the tumbrel 



103 

should make default, to pay for every day fourpence, and a man two- 
pence ; which hire to be allowed by the said Wardens for the behoof 
of those towns (Spalding and Pinchbeck) ; and that once in the year 
an account should be given thereof, upon notice given in the churches 
of the said towns by the Common Cryer." 

The same Commission presented that "for the preservation of the 
town of Spalding, the Sewer of Peseholme Gote, unto the old Fen 
dyke, ought to be scoured and repaired to Capel Brigge, 20ft. in 
breadth ; and from that old Current unto Hergate 18ft. ; and from 
Hergate unto the Old Fen Dyke 16ft. ; and that the sewer was in 
decay through the default of the tenants of the Abbot of Croyland 
and the freeholders of the -Prior of Spalding and the tenants of the 
Abbot of Angiers." Also that the roadway leading from Ratun Row 
unto the house of John Fitz Simon unto Westlode Outfall and thence 
to Peccebrigge ought to be so broad that two carts might meet 
thereon, and that the fen bank from the Abbot of Croyland's Mill 
unto Pichale should be raised 2ft. ; "and that the great bridge called 
Spalding-brigge was then broken and ought to be repaired at the 
charge of the whole town" of Spalding, and also "Batemanne brigg from 
Westlode," and likewise that " Halmergate, Newgate, Fulnedrove, 
Spalding Drove and the old Fen Dike ought to be repaired and that 
Hevidings betwixt Spalding and Weston, abutting on Weston Mere, 
should be made 12ft. thick, so that the water of Weston should not 
enter into the fields of Spalding." They further found that the common 
roadway betwixt Pichale and Brotherhouse was cut in sunder by the 
Prior of Spalding and ordered that bridges should be made thereon, so 
that carts might pass, and also from Brotherhouse to Clote, and that 
the Common way from Clote to Croyland was then in decay, and that 
no more trenches be made to the hindrance of the King's highway. 
Again, in the tenth year of Edward II, Commissioners were appoin- 
ted to view and repair the banks and sewers in the marshes of 
Gedney, Holbech, Sutton and Flete, and in the following year a 
Commission was appointed to inspect the banks and sewers upon the 
sea coast betwixt Tid Brigge and Surflete Brigge ; and four years 
afterwards the banks, sewers and bridges between Holand and Tyd. 

In 1571 a Dykereeve's inquest was held at Tydd and a verdict, Mu , v 
known as Murray's verdict, given (Roger Murray being the foreman dict w- 
of the Jury,) setting out the various sewers and banks maintainable 
by the parishes, and this Jury also found that the sea bank from the 
Gote northward to Cross Gate ought to be amended by the land 
holders by ' acre silver ' and that the inhabitants for their passage 
thereon should make common nunc work upon the sea bank yearly 
if need required, upon pain of every inhabitant in default of so doing 
paying twelve pence. The verdict also found that other work of 
repair to the drainage and banks, including Tydd Gote should be 
done by the inhabitants by nunc work, and that six bridges of stone 



104 



Dugdale. 



BorTell, 1642. 



DRAIMAGC DIS- 
TBICTS- 



over the common ""sewer ought to be repaired by 'acre silver' ; that 
the South Ea Bank should be repaired by the land holders, and 
that there ought to bs a stone bridge over the Ea, between the sluices 
at Tydd bridge, and a cart bridge over the said Ea at Low Gates 
End, and that the Shire Gote ought to be maintained by the town- 
ship of Sutton. 

In the reign of Edward Via Commission was directed to Thomas 
Holland the Elder, Richard Ogle and others, authorising them to 
raise money by an assessment of one penny per acre for freehold, 
and one half-penny for copyhold land in the township of Sutton, for 
the purpose of repairing the bridges, sewers and banks which had 
fallen into decay, and for making a new drain from a place in 
Sutton called Sutton Gote to a place called the Black Arhe upon the 
sea. 

At a Session of Sewers held at Huntingdon in the reign of James 
I, the rivers called High Fen Dyke and SDuth Ea (a branch of the 
Xene) were ordered to be secured from Clowes Cross to Holgate by 
the land owners of Sutton and Tydd St. Mary's on the north part, 
and from Holgate to Goldyke by the inhabitants of Gedney and 
Sutton, and from Goldyke to Dowesdale on the north side by the 
inhabitants of Whaplode, Holbech, Flete and Gedney ; from Dowes- 
dale to Crowland at the Prince's charge for his lands in Crowland. 

In 1629 the Adventurers of the Bedford Level cut the new 
South Ea from Crowland to Clowes Cross and the Shire Drain from 
Clowes Cross to Tyd, and so to the sea, and a sluice was made at 
Tydd upon the Shire Drain to keep out the tides. 

Very considerable difficulty appears to have arisen in construct- 
ing the sluices for the drainage of the marshes, for it is stated that 
" the old drains were new scoured out, the outfall being as before 
by the Shire drain and the sluice at Tydd, for the sluices set in the 
marshes are all lost, which cost ^"25,000." 

In 1642 a scheme was brought forward by A. Burrell for 
improving the drainage of South Holland by widening and deepen- 
ing the South Ea and the Carwater, and opening out the Shire 
Drain and continuing it one and a quarter miles, from Hills Sluice to 
the south-east comer of Sutton Marsh and making a sluice there 
with a 20ft. opening. 

Numerous Commissions, besides those already referred to, were 
issued for the protection of the banks and drainage of the district, up 
to the time when the Court of Sewers was permanently established. 

A large part of the drainage of South Holland has been 
excluded from the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers by Acts of 
Parliament creating the special districts of Deeping Fen, Spalding 
and Pinchbeck Blue Gowt District, and the South Holland Drain- 
age District. The remaining land, not provided for by these Acts, 
still remains under the jurisdiction of the Court. 



105 



COURT OF 
SEWERS< 



The Court for this district is known as the Hundred of Eliot 
and its sittings are held at Spalding. The parishes under the juris- 
diction of this Court are Cowbit, Crowland, Deeping St. Nicholas, 
Fleet, Gedney, Holbeach, Sutton, Moulton, Pinchbeck, Spalding, 
Sutton St. Mary, Tydd St. Mary, Weston and Whaplode. The «» banks- 
outer sea banks are maintained by the South Holland Embankment 
Commissioners and private owners. 

The general sewers' rates vary from about 2d. to 5d. per acre, SE „ Eas HAT es. 
and rates for special purposes levied during recent years have been, 
in Tydd St. Mary 4d. to Sd. ; Sutton St. James 4d. to 1/- ; Sutton 
St. Edmund 4d. to 7d. ; Sutton St. Mary, 4d. to 1/4 ; Lutton, iod. 
to 1/2 ; Gedney jd. to 1/6 ; Fleet, iod. to 1/6 ; Holbeach, ad. to 2/1 ; 
Whaplode, 4d. ; Pinchbeck, 3d. to 4d. ; Crowland, id. to 2|d. 

The principal drains under the control of the Court of Sewers 
are described in the parishes in which they lie, where are also to 
be found the particulars of the Acts which have been obtained for 
enclosing the marshes and common land. The account of the 
enclosure of Deeping Fen will be found in a separate chapter. 

South Holland Drainage District. —This level, which was 
formerly very imperfectly drained and frequently flooded, lies on the 
east side of the river Welland, between Spalding and Brotherhouse, 
extending eastwards to the Nene. It consists of the fens lying 
south of the Raven Bank in the parishes of Spalding, Weston, 
Cowbit, Moulton, Whaplode, Holbeach, Fleet, Gedney and Sutton. 
The boundary is set out in the original Act as extending on the boundary. 
north from Spalding High Bridge to the high road leading to 23Geo.Ui.c104. 
Holbeach, nearly as far as Weston ; then following the boundary 
between Weston and Moulton in a southerly direction to the 
Moulton river, down to the Roman Bank ; thence along this and 
Hurdle Tree lane to Sutton St. Mary ; thence southerly to the old 
South Eau ; and along this in a westerly direction to the Postland 
Estate, the boundary of which it follows to Brotherhouse Bar ; and 
thence along the Brotherhouse Bank to Spalding, where it crosses 
the river, and running round Hawthorn bank, again crosses the 
river at the High Bridge. Additional lands have since been 
admitted into the district by agreement. The boundary is marked 
by the dotted line shown on the plan of South Holland. 

The principal drain was formerly the Old Shire drain, the 
boundary of the county of Lincoln, and at one time the course of 
the river Xene, into which also the Welland at Crowland discharged 
a part of its waters. This watercourse has been variously known 
as the South Eau, the Shire Drain, and the Old South Holland 
Drain. The outlet sluice is into the Nene near Tydd Gote. 

The area of land included in the first Act was 19,400 acres, but 
this was subsequently increased, the area now being 36,400 
acres. 



Plate 4. 



SHIRE DRAIN. 



io6 



SOUTH HOLLAND 

DRAINAGE ACT OF 

1T93- 



The Preamble of the Act of 1793 described these lands as being 

much annoyed in the 'winter season with water, for want of a proper 

109, 1793. drainage and outfall to the sea, and that they were thereby rendered 

in a great degree unprofitable to the owners thereof, and that they 

were capable of being effectually drained and preserved. 

The Commissioners appointed for the purpose of d rainin g, 
preserving and improving these low lands ware Gsorge Maxwell of 
Fletton, Edward Hare of Castor, and John Walker of Sutton St. 
Mary. Their rate of remuneration was fixed by the Act at two 
guineas a day, and they were empowered to carry out the necessary 
works for the drainage of the district, to prevent water from Deeping 
Fen passing by a subterraneous tunnel under the Welland into the 
Lord's Drain, the Adventurers of Deeping Fen being paid ^1,500 as 
compensation for their rights in the Lord's Drain. The Lord's Drain, 
the South Eau Bank and the Queen's bank, so far as they formed a 
barrier bank to the district, were in future to be placed under the 
control of the Commissioners and Trustees appointed by the 
Act. 
wor«s carried The following were the principal works carried out by the 

n.ssioNERs. Commissioners: a new main drain 14 miles long, extending from the 
Xene at Peter's Point, about half a mile above Sutton Bridge, to 
Wheat Meer Drain, 24ft. wide at the lower end, with a batter of 2 
to 1, and a foreland of 15ft. on the Tydd side, the bottom dimin- 
ishing to 10ft. at the upper end, with a batter of ij to 1, and fore- 
lands of 10ft. ; the highland drain, 5 mUes long, and a lowland 
drain 4 miles long ; the erection at the outfall of the drain of a sluice 
of three arches of a total clear waterway of 26ft. : a bridge over 
Dereham Drain for the Wisbech turnpike road, with 24ft, open- 
ing and another for the road from Long Sutton to Tydd St. 
Mary with a waterway of 22ft. ; and one at Gedney Drove, with 
a 22ft. waterway. 

For raising the money for defraying the expenses incurred 
under the Act, the Commissioners were empowered to levy an 
acre tax apportioned according to the benefit accruing to the 
lands taxed, not exceeding forty shillings an acre, the payment 
to be spread over three years. 

The owners of certain lands lying on the west side of the 
Welland between Hawthorn bank and the Westlode, were to have 
the right to drain by the Lord's drain and by the new cut, on their 
paying compensation for such drainage. 

The Commissioners were empowered and directed to erect a 
drainage engine in either the parish of Sutton St. Mary or Tydd, to 
lift the water out of the main drain, which lay to the south of the 
Roman Bank, and to put pointing doors in the drain, to prevent the 
water so pumped from backing up the other part of the drain ; also 
an engine for lifting the water out of the Lord's drain on the south 



107 

side of the Roman Bank. The wheels in either case were not to 
lift against a greater head than 8 feet. 

The Award made by the Commissioners, after being enrolled 
with the Clerk of the Peace, was to be deposited in the Town 
Chest in the parish of Holbeach, and be open for inspection or 
copying on payment of the usual fees. 

After the execution of the Award and the completion of the formation op 
works ordered by the Commissioners, a Trust was to be appointed, 
on which every Lord of the Manor, the Rectors or Vicars of the several 
parishes through which the drain was made, the Senior Bursar of 
of St. John's College, Cambridge, and every Proprietor of ioo acres, 
or every lessee under the Crown of ioo acres, or their agents duly 
appointed, were eligible to act. This qualification was altered by 
the Act of 1 8 1 7. A Superintendent of the drains and works was to be 
appointed at the Annual Meeting to be held at the Chequers Inn at 
Holbeach, on the second Monday following the 4th of May, or, in 
default of a fresh appointment, the Superintendent retained his office. 

The Trustees were empowered to levy an equal acre rate, not 
exceeding one shilling in any one year, on the occupiers of land 
within the district, the rates paid by tenants to be deducted from 
any rent due. 

Persons found maliciously injuring'the drainage'works, or letting 
in salt water through the sluices, were to be liable to be transported 
for seven years as felons. 

Under the Fleet Enclosure Act of 1794 some slight amend- 34 Geo. Hi, c. 94, 
ments were made in this Act, as to the sale of lands in Fleet and I794 - 

Holbeach, and the position of the outfall of the new drain was more 
clearly defined, a clause in the Act directing " Peter's Point to be 
that point of land which projects into the bay of the sea at a certain 
salt marsh in Tydd St. Mary in the County of Lincoln, belonging to 
the Governors or Trustees of Guy's Hospital." The new drain was 
to commence at the salt marsh and continue in a straight line across 
the sea bank, and thence by the side of an ancient gote and across 
a part of the embanked marsh belonging to Guy's Hospital. 

The drain as set out above was made between 1793 and 1796, 
the date on the sluice being 1 795, and it, with the other works, was 
carried out under the superintendence of Mr. Thomas Pear of 
Spalding, and of his son, who succeeded him. 

In the year 1795 an Act was passed dealing with the Barrier barrier bank. 
Bank and the road running along it. By an Act granted to the 35 Geo - m - ^ 
Adventurers of Deeping Fen in 1665 (16 and 17 Chas. II), they 
were required to make and maintain the bank on the east side of 
the Welland, from Brotherhouse to Spalding High Bridge. Subse- 
quently, in the reign of George III, an Act (12 Geo. Ill), was 
obtained ' for the better preservation of the great bank of the river 
Welland... and for making and keeping in repair a road thereon, and 



SOUTH HOLLAND 
DRAIN- 



io8 

also from thence to the village of Glinton in Northamptonshire.' 
On the expiration of the term granted by the Turnpike Art there 
was owing to the persons who advanced the money ^8,925, m 
addition to 13 years interest. No application being made for a 
continuance of the term, the securities become void. It was there- 
fore arranged amongst the Trusts interested in the preservation of 
the Barrier Bank, that this should be taken out of the jurisdiction of 
of the Deeping Fen Trust and vested in the South Holland Drainage 
Trust, the former paying, as compensation for getting rid of their 
liability for its maintenance, £'1500 : the Corporation of Bedford 
Level were also to pay ^"500 out of the North Level Funds, as 
compensation for the improvement made in the bank by the Turnpike 
Trust ; and the South Holland Drainage Trust, ^"1,000, in considera- 
tion of the tolls, which after the passing of the Act they would be 
entitled to take. This ^3,000 was to be paid to the creditors of 
the old Turnpike Trust, making a dividend of 40 per cent, of the 
principal sum due to them. 

The maintenance and repair of the Barrier Bank from Spalding 
to Brotherhouse was, after the passing of the Act, to vest in the 
South Holland Drainage Trust, which was also to maintain a 
road on the top, and to have the right to levy tolls on all horses, 
cattle, or vehicles using the road, a provision being made that no 
toll gate was to be erected nearer to Spalding than Handkerchief 
Hall. The provision relating to the repair of the road was only to 
remain in force for 21 years. This term was subsequently extended. 

The right of road over the portion of the bank leading from the 
south-west end of Crowland to the end of the bank at Peakirk 
belonging to the Corporation of the Bedford Level, was continued ; 
the toll house called ■ Gilbert's Bar,' erected by the Turnpike 
Trustees, was vested in the Corporation of Bedford Level ; and they 
were authorised to collect the same tolls at this gate as were 
collected at the gate near Cowbit. Their power to raise, maintain 
and support the bank was not interfered with : and they were 
authorised to prevent ' during the continuance of high water the 
passage of any carriage in such part of the bank belonging to the 
Corporation.' 

The South Holland Commissioners were to enlarge and raise 
the Barrier Bank to such height as they should deem sufficient ' to 
resist the water of the river Welland, and to protect the lands in 
South Holland from inundation,' and ' to top the bank with a 
sufficient quantity of gravel for making a good and permanent road 
thereon ;' and the Trustees were afterwards to maintain the bank 
and road, and if at any time ' any goole or breach or overflowing of 
the waters ' should happen through the bank between Spalding and 
Brotherhouse, to the annoyance of the lands in Sutton St. Edmunds, 
Sutton St. James, or Tydd St. Mary, or in any part of Holland 



78, 1838. 



THE DISTRICT IN 

1012 



iog 

Elloe, and the same were not amended by the Trustees within ten 
days, then the Dykereeves of the parts affected were empowered to 
repair the same and recover the cost from the Trustees. 

By an Act passed in 1838 this road was declared to be a 1 and 2 yict., c. 
turnpike road, the Committeemen of the South Holland Drainage 
being placed in the same position as other Turnpike Trustees. The 
time during which the Trustees were authorised to collect tolls was 
extended for 31 years after the passing of the Act. On the expirat- 
ion of this term the road became a highway, and was maintained 
by the highway surveyors of Spalding and Cowbit respectively, the 
toll bar at Cowbit being removed. This, being a disturnpiked road, 
became a main road, under the Highway Act of 1878, and received 
grants towards its maintenance from the County Fund. In 1889 
the maintenance of the road on the Barrier Bank passed into the 
hands of the Holland County Council. The toll-bar at Brother- 
house was removed in 1892. Lord Normanton, who is the 
owner of the Postland Estate, and had hitherto maintained the 
portion of the road between Brotherhouse and Crowland, having 
given up all rights over the road, it also became a main road under the 
management of the County Council. 

In 1812 the South Holland Commissioners promoted a Bill for condition 
amending and rendering more effectual their previous Act. Con- 
siderable opposition was raised to the powers sought by the Com- 
missioners by several of the Proprietors, and meetings were held at 
Spalding and Holbeach, in March, 181 2, of which Sir Joseph Banks 
was chairman ; and a series of resolutions was drawn up and printed. 
The failure of the works carried out to effect the expected improva- 
ment of the drainage was attributed by the Proprietors present at 
these meetings to the fact that Kinderley's Cut, in the Nene, had 
not been extended, and that as this extension was the main induce- 
ment for obtaining the previous Act, "the Commissioners had 
expended the great sums entrusted to them in the execution of a 
plan which they knew would prove ineffectual, unless works should 
be executed by parties over whom neither they nor their employers 
have, or ever had, any kind of control ; that the "Wisbech waters, 
when they passed near to the Sea Sluice, over-rode the South Holland 
waters so as to prevent their discharge until the waters of the Nene 
had passed off ; and that when the South Holland waters and those 
of the Nene were on a level, there was a depth of 5ft. Sin. on the 
apron of the sluice ; that owing to the way in which the scheme had 
been designed, the works carried out, and the unfair manner in 
which the taxes had been levied, the proprietors present considered 
the Commissioners had forfeited their confidence, and had proved 
themselves utterly unfit for their office ; that they were prepared to 
approve of the promotion of a new Act to authorise the execution of 
an effectual plan of drainage, but that, if the Commissioners pro- 



PORT. 



ceeded with their present Bill, they were determined to oppose it 
when it came before Parliament." 

The carrying out of the works had imposed taxes on the 
Proprietors of sums varying from 20/- to 40/- an acre, in return for 
■which they received very little benefit, owing principally to the 
defective discharge at the outfall into the Xene, the water having to 
push its way to the river through beds of shifting sands. 
■nine's be- From a report made by Mr. John Rennie in 1S13 ' for 

completely draining South Holland,' it appears -that, notwithstand- 
ing the works executed under the powers of these Acts, " the drainage 
was still found to be incomplete and many thousands of acres of 
valuable land were during the winter and spring so flooded that their 
produce was of little comparative value, and therefore little had been 
effected towards the great object of a complete drainage." The 
great defect in the drainage arose from the want of a proper outfall, 
the main drain terminating at Peter's Point, which was too far up 
the Nene, so that even in the lowest tides the water in the river did 
not subside sufficiently to admit of a free discharge of the water 
from the lands. At neap tides in summer low water stood 3ft. gin. 
on the sill of the sluice at Peter's Point. The fall of the water in 
the river Xene at that time was so great that the water discharging 
by the Lutton Leam sluice, 2 miles lower down the Xene, was 18 
inches below that of the South Holland Drain. Mr. Rennie there- 
fore proposed the erection of a new sluice near the then existing 
sluice at the outfall of the Lutton Leam, having its sill 4ft. lower 
than the present sluice, and that a new cut, five furlongs long, should 
be made from the sluice to Crab Hole. The sluice was to have three 
sets of pointing doors of 1 2ft. opening each, or 5ft. more waterway than 
the then existing sluice. The total area to be drained by the new sluice 
would be 35,000 acres, viz., 26,000 of South Holland and 9,000 
drained by Lutton Leam. From the sluice to a little above Barlieu 
Bridge the Lutton Leam was to be enlarged and deepened, thence 
to Almond's Farm Bridge a new drain was to be made to join the 
Bender Slough Drain, which was to be deepened and enlarged, to 
its junction with the South Holland Drain. The estimated cost of 
this scheme was ^83,531. 

Mr. Rennie drew attention in his report to a scheme which he 
thought would be of great benefit to the whole of this part of the 
Fens by extending the Xorth Level Drain from Gunthorpe Sluice to 
the Lutton Leam, and making this extended outfall the common drain 
of the two districts, the great advantage being the concentration of 
a large body of water into one common outfall and its effect in 
maintaining and keeping the outfall open. 

Xo action was taken to carry thisscheme out, and several difBcult- 



A MEN DING ACT. 



27 Geo. Hi, c. 60, jes having arisen in carrying out the provisions of the two previous 
Acts and in obtaining payment of the sums assessed on the lands 



Ill 



TRUSTEES. 



for the work done, an amending Act was obtained in 1817. The 
qualification of the Trustees was altered, every person being quali- 
fied to be a Trustee who owned, or rented under the Crown, 80 acres 
of land, also the Bursar of St. John's College, Cambridge and the 
Master of Sidney Sussex College. The Trustees were to have votes 
for every 200 acres beyond the first 80 acres, but no one to have 
more than four votes, unless he owned 1,180 acres, and then to have 
votes for every 500 acres beyond 680, not exceeding 8 votes in 
all. Power was given to the Trustees to act by Agents. 
The Trustees Were directed to meet once a year on the 
second Monday in May, at Spalding, instead of at Holbeach, as 
in the previous Act. At every third Annual Meeting the Trustees 
were to appoint five of their number to act as a Committee. All 
powers formerly vested in the Trustees were transferred to the 
Committee, who have full control and management of all the works, 
the laying and collecting of rates, the appointment of the Treasurer, 
Clerk, Collector, Superintendent and other officers. They are 
allowed all reasonable expenses attending their meetings, not 
exceeding £5 for each meeting. Three members form a quorum. 
Accounts of receipts and expenditure by the Committee are to be 
presented at the Annual Meeting of the Trustees. 

In order to meet the outstanding debts incurred by the 
Commissioners, the Committee were authorised to levy for one year 
an extra tax of five shillings an acre, or, if this should prove insuf- 
ficient, a further additional tax of two shillings. The power to levy 
the ordinary annual tax of one shilling an acre was continued and 
such further annual tax as might be deemed necessary, not exceeding 
sixpence an acre. The lands draining by the Lord's Drain, not 
included in the boundaries set out in the first Act, were to be 
charged sixpence an acre, to be used in discharging the expenses of 
maintaining the Lord's Drain. 

The Committee were authorized to borrow a sum not ex- 
ceeding ^"3,000. This was increased by a subsequent Act to 
,£"15,000. 

The herbage of the Barrier and other banks was to be let by 
the Committee, to be grazed with sheep only, the rents being applied "banks 
to the same purposes as the tax. Any cattle or swine found on the 
banks were to be impounded, under a penalty of ten shillings for 
swine and twenty shillings for horses or other cattle. Any person 
convicted of keeping rabbits on the banks was made liable to a 
penalty of forty shillings. 

The Committee were further empowered to admit adjacent admission 
lands into their drainage system, on proper compensation being 
paid, and provided that no lands not having a right of drainage 
into the Nene should be admitted without the consent of the Com- 
missioners of the Nene Outfall. 



BORROWING 
POWER. 

I and 2 Vict., 



HERBAGE OF 



ADJACENT LANDS. 



112 



EFFECT OF 

IMPROVEMENT 

OF THE HEME 

OUTFALL- 



MILLJMGTOM-S 
BEPORT- 



NEW OUTFALL 
SLUICE. 



14 and 15 VicL, 
1351. 



In 1832 a new channel was made for the Nene, by a cut 
through Cross Keys Wash, from Gunthorpe Sluice to Crab's Hole, 
a distance of 5 miles, and continued for a further 1 J miles through 
the sands by training banks. This new outfall lowered the level of 
low water in the channel of the river about 10 feet. 

Prior to this improvement the water stood on the sill of the 
sluice to a depth of 5ft. in summer, when a shoal of sand frequently 
formed on the outside, and was seldom lower than 2ft. 6in. in 
winter. After the improvent the sill of the middle arch was lowered 
a foot, and the water then fell out 2ft. gin. below the sill, making a 
difference of upwards of 5ft. in the level af the water in the drain. 

In 184S Mr. Edward Millington made a report to the Com- 
mittee of the Trustees. This report shows that the sill of the 
Outfall Sluice was 7ft. above low water, as then existing, below 
Sutton Bridge, and Sft. Sin. above low water in Wisbech Eye. 
There was a fall in floods with the water r unnin g 2ft. over the sill 
of from 4ft. to 5ft. to the surface of low water in the Xene near the 
Outfall ; and it was anticipated that when the improvement works 
in the Xene were completed there would be a fall of from 6ft. to 7ft. 
from the sluice in floods and from 8ft. to 9ft. in ordinary seasons. 
The bottom of the main drain was 3ft. below the sill of the sluice, 
gradually rising until it became level with it at Red House Bridge, 
five-and-a-quarter miles up the drain. Above this the bed rose with 
an inclination of from 3m. to 4m. in a mile, and in the whole length 
of the drain, fourteen and a quarter miles, the bottom rose 5ft. gin. 
The low lands at the extremity of the drain near Peakhill were 
only from 6Jft. to 7ft. above the sill of the sluice, and were con- 
sequently frequently flooded. The land in the parish of Gedney 
Hill and in Fleet was from 6ft. to 6|ft. above the sill, the distance 
from the sluice varying from g to 12 miles ; the land in Holbeach, 
between the main drain and Holbeach Drove, was from 6in. to gin. 
higher than that in Fleet. The low lands in Holbeach and Whap- 
lode Drove Common, distant from the sluice fourteen and a half 
miles, were from 6ft. to 7ft. above the sill. 

In an Act passed in 1S57, it is recited that the Outfall Sluice 
(erected in 1795) had become dilapidated and could not be effectually 
repaired, and that the construction of a new Sea Sluice was imme- 
diately required. This damage was partly caused by the breaking of a 
dam when the sluice was under repair in 183 1. At the time when 
the tide broke through the dam the apron was up and also the boarding 
in the body of the sluice, and the sluice doors had been removed. 
The scour of the tidal water through the sluice forced several of the 
sheet piles out of their places, and otherwise damaged the foundation. 
The damage was made good as far as possible, but the sluice was 
never afterwards in a satisfactory condition, and was consequently 
subject to leakage, especially after very high tides and was regarded 



"3 

by those who had charge of it as insecure. The Committeemen were n and 15 Vict., 
authorised to levy for five years a further tax of two shillings an acre, 
for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for rebuilding the sluice. 
They were also authorised to borrow a further sum of £ 10,000. 

The new sluice was erected in 1S52 by Messrs. Grissell & Co., 
under the direction of Mr. William Lewin, and had two openings 
of 8ft. each and one of 15ft., making a total waterway of 31ft. 
The sill was placed 5ft. lower than that of the old sluice and is now 
5'5ft. below Ordnance datum, or about 4^ft. above low water of 
spring tides in the estuary. The cost of the sluice (and of other 
attendant works and expenses, ^"2,000) was /"io,500. The water, in 
very high floods, rises, when the doors are closed by the tides, to over 
1 oft. on the sill. In ordinary floods the depth when running is from 
3ft. to 5ft. The area of land draining by this sluice is about 34,000 
acres. One of the first practical applications of the Centrifugal 
Pump to drainage works was made at the works carried out for 
the construction of this sluice. 

In 1S42, at an annual meeting of the Trustees, the following BYE . LAWS . 
Bye Laws were passed for the management of the district, which 
were to take effect on notice being given to the owner or occupier ; 
the defaulter being liable to a penalty of £=,. 
1. — Trees or hedges grewing near drains, so far as the branches 

overhang the drain, to be lopped and pruned. 
2. — Ditches along which water from other lands has course to any 

public drain to be deepened and cleansed. 
3. — Tunnels of adequate size and dimensions for gateways across 

anv public drains or ditches to be provided. 
a — Headings or other works for preventing the issue of water from 

or into the public drains to be kept in order. 
e No injury to be done to any drain, sluice, or other work ; no 

obstruction to be placed in any drain ; no bank or heading to 

be cut, or tunnel or other work opened for the purpose of 

directing the course of the water. 

The area of land now under the jurisdiction of the Trustees, t>][es ino cx _ 
including that which has been added by petition of the owners since pendituh.. 
the passing of the original Acts, is 36,285a. or. 3ip., of which 
4,4284 acres drains by Lord's Drain. 

The taxes annually levied and other receipts are as follows : — 

A" s. d. 

One Shilling on 31, S564 acres ... 1,563 15 10 

Sixpence on 4,428^ acres draining by 

Lord's Drain ... ... no 15 10 

Two Shillings on 187a. or. 37p. in 
Lord's Drain district now drain- 
ing by Main Drain ... ... 18 14 8 

1,693 6 4 



£ 


=^ 


d. 


26 


9 


O 


£o 


H 


9 





414 


11 


4 




688 


3 


5 




90 


10 


8 




4 


1 


3 




79 


8 


2 




366 


9 






Bank and other rents 
Interest, Ax. 

^2,000 10 1 
The expenses as taken from the accounts for 1892-3, include:- 

l s. d. 
Maintenance of Main Drains and 

Sluice 
Parish Works 
Lord's Drain district 
Barrier Bank 
Rents, Rates and Taxes 
Management 

^1,643 3 10 
There is a surplus income of about £^00 a year, which is 
invested to meet heavy renewals of works, and emergencies. A 
large amount was paid for rebuilding one of the bridges, a few years 
ago, out of this fund. The balance invested at the end of 1892 was 
^3,100. There is no outstanding loan. The tax levied in 1894 
was 1/- in the South Holland District and 6d. in the Lord's Dr ain 
District. 

South Holland Embankment. — A Trust was created in 

33 Geo. Hi, c 16, the year 1793, under an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of 

52Geo.iii.c175, George III, (amended by a second Act obtainsd in 1S12) for 

IM ~ enclosing the large tract of salt marsh lying between the Welland 

and the Xene, north of the Roman Bank. The area of land enclosed 

was stated to be as follows : — 



ACREAGE AMD 
PARISHES. 



Private Salt Marsh in the Parish of Spalding 


35 


i. p. 
2 3 


9S JS 


Moulton 


249 


2 23 


)J J) 


Whaplode 


166 


2 6 


S? ?) 


Holbeach 


2059 


2 18 


5> »> 


Gedney 


612 


3 37 


Commonable in Moulton 


... 


861 


2 28 


„ Gedney 




609 


29 




4»595 


24 



The Common land in Moulton was assessed by the Commis- 
sioners in their Award at ^8,371 3s. 4d. ; and that in Gedney at 
^"5,968 10s. 8d. 

At the time of Inclosure there were ten owners of private lands, 
of whom the principal were X. Garland, W. Drake, M. Dayrell, 
— Coates, Lord Boston and the Earl of Buckingham. 

This land is described in the Preamble of the Act as being 
:.act. overflowed by the sea at every spring tide, and as being of little 

iTsa- value ; and it is stated that the embanking and draining would be of 

great advantage to all persons interested therein. For the purpose of 



EMB«NKM£NT 



SEA BANK- 



"5 

carrying out the work, T.G.Ewen of Norwich, Edward Hare of Castor 
and George Maxwell of Fletton were appointed Commissioners, their 
remuneration being fixed at two guineas a day. The Commissioners 
took the oath in July, 1793, and the bank was completed and the 
Award made in April, 181 1, the work having thus occupied nearly 
eight years. 

The embankment commences at the north-west corner of Wrag 
Marsh Farm, which is about a mile and a half above Fosdyke Bridge, 
and continues nearly parallel with the Welland for three miles, to 
Moulton Outfall, whence it continues along the coast in a broken line 
to Boat Mere Creek, where it terminates by a junction with the 
existing sea bank. The total length of the outer bank is about 15 
miles. The course of the bank is shown on the plan of South Plate 
Holland in this Chapter. The depth of the marsh enclosed varied 
from 20 or 30 chains to a mile. The size of the bank is given in the 
Act as being in the lowest part of the marsh 11ft. high, and 
63^ft. wide at the base, with slopes of four to one on the outer 
slope and one and a half to one on the inner slope. On the 
highest part of the marsh the bank was not to be less than 8ft. high, 
with 47ft. base, and the same slopes. (At the present time 
the top of the bank is about 20ft. above Ordnance datum.) Cross 
banks were to be made with slopes of one and a half to one on both 
sides in the narrowest part of the marsh, wherever the Commis- 
sioners should think necessary, to prevent a general inundation in 
case of a breach in any part of the outer bank. The slopes were to 
be flagged with sods two and a half inches thick, and the banks 
sown with rye grass. 

All necessary drains and private roads were to be made by the 
Commissioners. The boundaries between the different owners 
were to be straightened, the divisions, where they abutted on the 
new bank, to be made in straight lines for a length of one hundred 
yards, and as nearly parallel as practicable. All claims to accretion 
after the bank was made were to be regulated by a continuation of 
these straight lines across the sea bank, and into the marsh for ever 
after acquired from the sea. 

Provision was to be made for the drainage discharging by the 
two existing sluices, erecfted for the purpose of draining the lands in 
the parishes of Moulton, Whaplode and Holbeach, and by several 
private sluices for draining the lands adjoining the new enclosure, by 
the erection of the following new sluices, viz., one near the mouth 
of Holbeach Creek, 16ft. wide, with the floor 2ft. lower than the 
then existing Sea Sluice ; one at the mouth of Holbeach 
Creek, for the drainage of lands in Moulton, 10ft. wide, with the 
floor 1 Sin. lower than the existing sluice ; one, near the mouth 
of the Old Fleet Haven, for draining the marshes adjoining 
the same, 8ft. wide, with the floor iSin. lower than any of the then 



ACCRETION OUT- 
SIDE THE BANK- 



u6 



TRUSTEES AND 

OFFICERS. 



existing sluices in the sea bank ; one near the mouth of Daws- 
mere Creek, 5ft. -wide, with the floor i8in. lower than the existing 
sluice ; and another near Boatmere Creek, 4ft. wide, with the floor 
i2in. lower than the existing sluice, called Baker's Sluice. Drains 
were also to be made connecting the old and new sluices. 

The new sluices and drains were to be considered as part of the 
works, and to be from time to time repaired, cleansed and scoured* 
the cost being paid out of the rates levied by the Superintendent. In 
default the Surveyor of Sewers was to have the necessary work done, 
and the cost to be recoverable from the Superintendent. Provision 
was also made in the case of neglect to have the sluices opened, 
when required, by an application to a Justice of the Peace, who 
was authorised to order the sluices to be opened. 

Twelve Trustees were nominated in the Act, who, together with 
four delegates chosen by the Commoners in Moulton and Gedney, 
were to have the management of the banks, sluices and other works 
after completion. The future Trust was to consist of the heirs or 
assigns of the then owners, interested in the enclosed marsh to the 
yearly value of fifty pounds or upwards, or in any allotments made 
of the commonable part of the marsh of the yearly value of twenty 
pounds. The banks with the cess or foreland on the land side and 
the drains, sluices, bridges and other works were vested in the 
Trustees, as a Corporation in perpetual succession. The Trustees 
were directed by the Act to meet annually, on the Thursday in Easter 
week, at the Chequers Inn, Holbeach, or such other place as they 
might think fit. At this Annual Meeting they were to appoint a 
Superintendent, who was to have charge of the banks, sluices, &c, 
and to have power to levy a rate not exceeding one shilling an acre 
in one year, for the repair of the new bank and works, and payment 
of the expenses of management. He was also directed to call upon 
the persons who had previously repaired the old banks and sluices 
to keep these in order at their owd cost. The rate was to be paid 
by the occupier of the land, and deducted from his rent, if a tenant. 
The Superintendent was to be appointed in writing, to find surety 
to the amount of ^"500, and be removable by the Trustees at 
pleasure for neglect or misconduct. The Trustees were also directed 
by the Act to appoint at the Annual Meeting five persons, not 
necessarily Trustees, to act as a Committee and to meet in any case of 
emergency, three of whom were to be a quorum, and they were 
empowered to levy such further rates as they might deem necessarv 
for the safety of the bank, sluices and other works. Provision was 
made to prevent the stocking of the bank, for the first seven vears 
after completion, with any other cattle except sheep, under a penalty 
of £50 ; and, after the expiration of this period, anv swine, horses or 
cattle found on the banks might be impounded in the common 
pound until a fine of ten s hillin gs a head for swine and twenty 



ii7 

shillings for horses and cattle, and expenses were paid. If any 
owner knowingly keeps rabbits upon the marsh or banks he is liable 
to a penalty of forty shillings ; also any person mooring any vessel 
to the sluices or laying the same within eighty yards is liable to a 
penalty of /50. 

The Adt of 181 2 amended some of the clauses in the first Act, ^gVo"^*.":, 
and provided that certain irregularities in carrying out the provi- l8l2> 

sions of the same by the Commissioners should not affect the 
validity of, or vitiate the proceedings under the Adt, and that the works 
done should be deemed to have satisfied the requirements thereof. 
This Adt also repealed so much of the Welland Act of 34 Geo. iii, 
as related to the unembanked lands adjoining the sea bank. It also 
recited that great damage was done to the new sea bank by an 
exceedingly high tide, accompanied by a violent tempest, which 
happened in November, 1810, and gave further powers to the Com- 
missioners to repair the damage then done, and to repay the outlay 
which was made by the owners at the time for the preservation of the 
banks. In repairing the banks it was found necessary to abandon a 
considerable quantity of land within the line of the original embank- 
ment, and at this part to make a fresh bank within the line of the 
old one. For these repairs a rate of thirty shilling an acre was laid. 
The Act further provided that notice of any rate made by the Com- 
mittee should be given for three weeks in a newspaper circulating 
in the County, and by writing fixed on the principal doors 
of the churches of Spalding, Moulton, Whaplode, Holbeach, 
and Gedney, twenty days previous to the time appointed for 
payment. Provision was made in this Adt for the appointment 
of a Clerk and Treasurer, for borrowing money, and the payment of 
the expenses of the Committee at their meetings, not exceeding five 
pounds for each meeting. 

The total cost of carrying out the works, and of the Award, was 
^45,227, or about £fio an acre. 

The rate for the maintenance of the South Holland Embank- 
ment is about one shilling an acre, the maximum amount which the penditure. 
Superintendent is authorised to lay without the authority of the 
Committee, and produces ^"221. 

The expenses of maintenance, according to the last annual 
taxation return (1892), amount to ^73, and of management to ^78, 
total /"151. There is no outstanding loan. 

Blue Gowt or Spalding and Pinchbeck District. — This 
district, which is shown on the plan of Deeping Fen, lies to the 
south and east of the river Glen, and is bounded by it on the north ; 
on the west by the Dozens Bank, on which runs the main road 
between Podehole and Dovehirne ; on the south by the site of the 
Old Westlode Drain, up to Spalding ; and thence on the south east, 



COST OF WORKS. 



BATES AND EX- 



BOUNDARY 



ii8 

up to the junction of the Welland and the Glen, by the Roman 
Bank. It contains about 4,500 acres. The drainage is by the 
Blue Gowt Drain, from which the water is lifted by an engine into 
the Glen, a little above its junction with the Welland. 
41 Geo. Hi,i8oi. Under an Act passed in the reign of George III, for inclosing 

the Common lands in Spalding, Pinchbeck and the other parishes 
DR»m»GE. adjoining the Welland and the Glen, the drainage of this district 
was provided for by the deepening and widening of the Blue Gowt 
Drain, from its outfall to its then termination near the turnpike road 
leading from Spalding to Donington, and continuing it thence by a 
new cut to Dozens Bank. The bottom of the drain was made 10ft. at 
the lower end, gradually diminishing to 6ft. at the termination, with 
slopes of 2 to 1, and forelands of 10ft., up to Stickwith Gowt, and 
above that ii to 1, and 6ft. forelands. A sluice was erected at its 
junction with the Glen, having 14ft. waterway. Another drain was 
also directed to be made, branching from the Blue Gowt Drain near 
the turnpike road and extending thence to the Vernatts Drain, and 
so much further on the south side as might be found expedient, with 
a culvert under the Vernatts of 3ft. diameter, for the purpose of 
draining such of the lands lying between the Westlode and the Glen 
as are so situated as to discharge their water through the Blue 
Gowt Drain and Sluice into the river. The Proprietors of this part 
of the district were also authorized by the Act to erect a drainage 
engine for lifting the water off the land lying between the Yematts 
and the Westlode, and west of Two Plank Bridge, for discharging 
the water into the Vernatts, subject to certain restrictions. The 
Proprietors of the whole district were also authorized to erect an 
engine for lifting the water out of the Blue Gowt Drain into the 
Glen, but this power was not exercised and that part of the Act was 
repealed by the Act of 1832, when fresh powers were obtained. 

The drainage being found very defective, on account of the 
height of the water at the outfall of the Blue Gowt Drain, it became 
necessary to lift the water by steam power. The powers for this 

DRAINAGE ACT. . _ *■ 

2 will, iv, 18=2. purpose contained in the Act of 1801 being found insufficient, a 
separate Act was obtained by the Proprietors. Under this Act 
Leonard Browne of Pinchbeck, William Peppercorn of St. Xeots, 
Thomas Brabins Measure of Pinchbeck, William Wiles of Pinch- 
beck and George Brown of Gosberton were appointed Trustees for 
the better effecting the drainage, and for supporting and keeping in 
repair the Blue Gowt Drain and other sewers and banks. The first 
Trustees were appointed for 3 years, when the Proprietors of the 
land were to have the opportunity of electing fresh Trustees if they 
wished, otherwise the existing Trustees were to continue in office 
until death or resignation, and so on, every three years. Every 
Owner of ten acres has one vote at the election, and an additional 
vote for every 50 acres up to 10 votes. If he have over 500 acres 



H9 

he has an additional vote for every 200 acres beyond the 500, up to 
1 2 votes. Owners may delegate their power to their Agents by a 
written authority. The Trustees are to call a meeting of the 
Proprietors of lands once a year, on the first Monday in October, for 
the purpose of presenting their accounts, notice of such meeting 
being first advertised. 

The Trustees are empowered by the Act to appoint a Clerk, 
Collector, Superintendent and Treasurer, and are allowed their 
reasonable expenses in attending meetings. 

They were empowered to erect on the Blue Gowt Drain at 
Stickwith Gowt a good and substantial engine, to be worked by 
steam, with all proper machinery, houses and sluices, and also to 
deepen and widen the Blue Gowt Drain and to support and maintain 
all the works belonging to the said drain ; but no part of the water 
of the Blue Gowt Drain was to be discharged into the Vernatts 
Drain, and the engines erected were not to be used when the Glen 
could not discharge its water owing to the height of the water in the 
Welland. 

The Act directs that the Owners and Occupiers of land in the 
district shall maintain in order the droveway, outring, or partition 
and division dikes, to a width not exceeding 8ft. at the top, or in 
default, after notice given, the Superintendent is empowered to do 
the work at the cost of the owners or occupiers, who are further 
subject to a fine of three shillings a rood. 

The land is divided into four districts for the purpose of rating, 
the lowest rated paying one-fourth of that paid by the highest, and 
the other two one-half and three-quarters respectively. The land 
lying between the Roman Bank and the Vernatts Drain, called Marsh 
Lands, and Monks' House Farm were exempted from taxation. 

The taxes are levied on the Owners, the Occupiers being liable 
for payment, but being allowed to deduct the rate from the rent. 
Persons neglecting to pay the taxes for 14 days after the time 
appointed for payment are liable to have their their effects distrained 
upon and are subject to a penalty of 5/- in the £. 

The Trustees were authorized to borrrow ^5,000 for the 
purpose of carrying out the work. 

The engine erected by the Trustees in 1833 is a low pressure 
condensing beam engine, 20 N.H.P., and works a scoop wheel of 24ft. 
diameter and 2ft. 2in. width, the scoops being 5ft. long. The wheel 
makes 7 revolutions to 28 of the engine. The average head is from 
5 to 6ft., rising in floods to Sft. The boiler pressure was originally 
4lbs. and the coal consumption ij tons in twelve hours. A new 
boiler has recently been laid in place of the old one and the pressure 
increased to 2olbs. Some improvements have also been made in the 
engine and the coal consumption reduced to one-third of what it 
used to be. The area drained by the engine is 6,000 acres, 



PUMPING 



• RAINAGC 

RATE. 



I20 

The rate generally levied by the Trustees is 3/- an acre on the 
district paying the maximum, and in proportion on the other 
districts. The amount raised by rates, according to the Govern- 
ment taxation return of 1892-3, was £467, and from other sources £4, 
total ^47 1. The expenditure, in maintenance ^542, management 
^"134, interest £15, total £6gi. The outstanding loan amounted to 
^"300. In the previous year maintenance cost ^"273. 

Pinchbeck South Fen, or the Fourth District. — Pinch- 
beck South Fen, which is shown on the plan of Deeping Fen, 
includes part of Pinchbeck Common. It lies between the Glen on 
the north and west, and the Counter Drain on the south, extending 
np to the Dozens Bank, on the main road between Podehole and 
Dovehirne on the east, and the Cradge Bank on the west ; it 
contains 1,425a. 2r. i6p. 
41 Geo. Hi. c. 123, This was one of the districts set out under the Deeping Fen 

Enclosure Act of 1801, and is the only one now remaining as a 
separate district, the others having been done away with under the 
Deeping Fen Act of 1856. 

Under the Enclosure Act the Owners of land in the Fourth 
District were directed to elect Trustees, who were empowered to 
erect and maintain engines, and carry out such works as they 
deemed necessary for the drainage, and to levy taxes not exceeding 
2/- an acre in any one year, to pay for the same. By the Act of 
4 Geo. iv, 1823. 1823 the powers of the Trustees were extended and, with the consent 
of three-fifths of the Owners, the ann ual tax can be raised to 5/-. 

The main drain for this district runs parallel with the Counter 
Drain and crosses the main road, north of Podehole. The engine 
was erected in 1829 at a cost of ^"3,000. It is situated a quarter of a 
mile on the east side of the main road at Podehole, and discharges 
the water into the Vernatts Drain. The water is lifted by a scoop 
wheel, 20ft. in diameter, having 42 scoops 5ft. 6in. long and ift. 3m. 
wide. The average lift is 5ft. The wheel is driven by a beam 
engine of 35 NH.P., the pressure in the boiler being from 6IBs. to 7lbs. 
The engine makes 30 revolutions, and the wheel 7J, in a minute. 
The maximum rate of 5/- is generally levied by the Trustees. 

Deeping Fen Washes Drainage District. — This is a 
narrow tract of land lying between the river Glen and the Counter 
Drain, containing 400 acres, and was originally left to receive the 
overflow water from the Glen. The Counter Drain was constructed 
to carry off this overflow water and to relieve the Glen. The south 
bank is made sufficiently high to prevent the water from flowing on 
to Deeping Fen from the washes. The Counter Drain receives 
the water from Bourne South Fen and the Bourne and Thurlby 
pastures lying to the south of Bourne Eau, and containing about 
2,000 acres. Formerly this wash was almost always flooded in 
winter. 



DRAINAGE 
CINE 



DRAINAGE 

RATES. 



121 

Since the improvement of the drainage of Deeping Fen, the 
construction of a new outfall sluice for the Glen, and the strength- 
ening of the banks, these lands are less liable to flooding than formerly. 

In 1873 this area was formed into a District by a provisional 36and37Vict 
order under the Land Drainage Act, subsequently confirmed by 
Parliament. 

The amount raised by rates, as given in the return for 1892-3, 
was ^"23 ; maintenance cost £5 and management £j. 

Spalding and Pinchbeck. — The greater part of these parishes 
is included in special Drainage Districts, the south-west part of 
Spalding, known as Spalding Common is part of the Deeping Fen 
District, the south-east part of the parish is in the South Holland 
Drainage District, the part west of the town is, with part of 
Pinchbeck, formed into a separate level, known as the Blue Gowt 
District. Pinchbeck North Fen is in the Black Sluice District and 
the South Fen in Deeping Fen. The drainage of the remainder of 
the parish is under the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers. 

Weston. — The southern portion of this parish forms part of 
the South Holland Drainage District. The northern part is under 
the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers and is drained by the Lord's 
Drain, which discharges into the river Welland about a mile below 
the reservoir. 

Moulton. — A large tract of land, containing 2,237 acres in this i»cios»»f of 
parish, in common with the marshes in Holbeach and Gedney 
lying outside the Roman Bank, was enclosed from the sea by a bank 
running westward from the Old Guide House to Wrag Marsh, 
constructed in 1660. A further addition of 1,081 acres was made to 
the parish in 1793 by the South Holland Embankment, when the 
part known as the Red Cow District was enclosed. Of this addition 
861 acres were common marsh. In 1875, 400 acres of marsh were 
enclosed and added to the parish. 

The parish consists of three divisions. The old part, lying 
between the Roman Bank and Garner's Dyke, also called the 
Raven Bank, and known as the ' Town Lands ' ; the fen, 
lying south of Gamer's Dyke and extending up to the Queen's 
Bank ; and the enclosed marsh land, lying north of the Roman 
Bank and extending up to the river Welland. The land lying south 
of the Roman Bank is in the South Holland Drainage District. The 
sea bank and Outfall Drain are maintained by the South Holland 
Embankment Commissioners. 

The principal sewers in the parish are the Moulton Meer Drain, 
running along the western boundary of the fen, and discharging into 
Lord's Drain, north of the village of Weston ; and the Moulton 
river, which extends from the south end of the fen to the outfall into 
the Welland on the north, a distance of 1 1 miles. The portion 
south of the Roman Bank discharges into the South Holland 



MARSHES 



DIVISION OF THE 
PARISH. 



DRAINAGE. 



122 

Drain. The northern outfall was diverted to its present outfall into 
the Welland by the South Holland Embankment Commissioners. 

The fen 'was formerly drained by a wind engine and scoop 
wheel, situated at Dawsdyke near Engine Bank. In 1705 this 
engine was repaired by Nathaniel Kinderley, at a cost of .£200. 

A second drainage engine was erected in 169B on the north side 
of the Roman Bank at Sea's End, the work being done under the 
advice of, and by. Mr. Hodgkin of Little Bytham. 

The Sluice in the Sea Bank, constructed in 1660, appears to 
have given the Dykereeves considerable trouble ; as in 1 693 Robert 
Adams was paid £26 for laying down a new sluice, to replace the 
old one, and Joshua Bernard £"120 for its erection. This sluice also 
proved a failure, and in 1739 John Scribo and John Parkinson were 
called in to advise about it. and in the following vear a new sluice 
was built, at a cost of £'270, by YV. Sands, who built the Glen Sluice 
about the same time. 

In 1733 Mr. Grundy. Surveyor, then of Leicester and after- 
wards of Spalding, whose name appears prominently in various 
schemes for the improvement of the Witham, was employed 
to make a map of the parish, and to take the levels thereof; 
and prepare a scheme., with plan, for its better drainage. A copy of 
this plan is now in the possession of the Rev. T. Russell Jackson, 
the Vicar of Moulton. Mr. Grundy was also err.rloyed in 1739, at 
a fee of 20 guineas, to make a map and take the levels of the 
Common Salt Marsh. 

In 1765 the sea bank in this parish was broken by a sudden 
and unexpected tide, which inundated the marsh land, drowning 
over 2,000 sheep, 7 beasts and 13 horses. During the srale and high 
tide of 1S10, a breach was made in the South Holland Embankment 
in this parish, and considerable damage was done. This bank had 
been constructed about 1793, and at the same time the Moulton 
river was diverted by a new cut at the outfall, havinsr 12ft. water- 
way at the bottom ; and a new sluice erected, having 10ft. opening. 

Up to nearly the end of the iSth century there was a large area 
of Common Marsh Land in this parish, known as the Bean Marsh, 
the First Marsh, the New Marsh and the Salt Marsh. A Marsh 
Reeve was appointed by the parish to look after this Common and 
was paid a salary of £\ a year. A Marsh Shepherd was also 
appointed at a salary of £20 a year. These expenses, together with 
those incurred for mowing thistles, catching moles, repairing gates 
and fences, Ax., amounting to about £43 a year, were met by a 
marsh rate of is. 6d, for each horse and neat beast, and 3d. for each 
sheep grazed on the common. 

An Act was obtained in 1793 for dividing and enclosing these 
33 Geo. Hi, c commonable salt marshes, droves, commons and waste lands, 
to*- containing, with other waste lands, about 2,000 acres. The area of 



BREACH OP SEA 
BANKS. 



THE COM MOMS' 



ENCLOSURE ACT. 



123 

the marshes was 86 1 a. 2r. 29P. the value of which was assessed by 
the Embankment Commissioners at ^"8,371 3s. 4c!. 

The Commissioners appointed under the Act were George 
Maxwell of Fletton, Thomas Glover Ewen of Norwich, and Joseph 
Newman of Boston, their remuneration being fixed at £2 2s. od. a 
day, including their expenses. They were directed to divide and 
allot the land ; to set out and make the necessary public and private 
roads and such drains as they deemed necessary, the public roads 
to be 50ft. wide. Two acres of land were to be set out for the pur- 
pose of getting material for the repair of the roads. Provision was 
also made by the Act for raising the money for the share of the cost 
of the South Holland Embankment. 

In 1S73 an Act was obtained for enclosing a further tract of .moulton s «lt 
salt marsh, containing about 400 acres, extending up to the Wei- 6 md vict ' 
land, which had accreted outside the South Holland Embankment. c - '7°. isrs- 
The persons interested in this marsh were Lord Boston, Richard 
Jackson, Edgar Walter Garland ; the Rev. J. Russell Jackson, as 
owner of the tithes ; the Frontagers ; and the Owners of the common 
rights. Edward Millington of Fleet was appointed Commissioner for 
the purposes of the Act, with power to make the embankments, roads 
and sewers necessary. Also to determine the rights of, and to make 
allotments to, the several claimants. The Award, when made, was to 
be deposited with the Clerk of the Peace. So much of the marsh 
was to be sold as would be sufficient to pay the expenses of embank- 
ing and carrying out the Act ; and a further portion for maintaining 
the works. Lord Boston and the other Owners we're to pay their 
share of the cost. After the deposit of the award and completion of 
the works, three Trustees were to be appointed for the management 
of the marsh. Every owner of an allotment is entitled to one vote and 
an additional vote for every acre. Every person qualified to be an 
Elector is qualified to be a Trustee. The Trustees remain in office 
for three years, or until their successors are appointed. Two 
Trustees are a quorum ; the office is to be at Spalding ; and a 
meeting is to be held annually, and at such other times as necessary. 
The Trustees have power to levy rates for the maintenance of the 
works, no limit being fixed as to the amount ; the rate is to be paid by 
the Occupier and to be repaid by the Owner. Failing payment, the 
Trustees may distrain. The roads made were to be deemed public 
highways to be maintained by the Trustees, the cost being repaid 
bv the highway Surveyors. The length of the enclosure bank was 
two and a quarter miles. The contract for making the bank, includ- 
ing the sluice, was ^"5,574, equal to about £13 10s. od. an acre. 

Holbeach and Whaplode.— The large tract of land, known as , NCLOSUHC OF 
Holbeach Marsh, King north of the Roman Bank, was, in common 
with the marshes in Moulton and Gedney, enclosed from the sea by 
an embankment made about 1660, and by a subsequent embank- 



MARSHES. 



I2 + 



1HCLOSUHE OF 

MARSHES. 



DRAINAGE. 



ment made under the South Holland Embankment Act of 1793. 
The former enclosure was made by ' the Adventurers ' under a 
grant by James I, in 1615, to Charles Glenmand and John Walcott 
of London, on behalf of the Duke of Argyll, of marsh land left by 
the sea in Wigtoft, Moulton, Holbeach and Tydd St. Mary. This 
grant included a reservation of a fifth portion, and a rent of ^50 to the 
King, and Common Lands to the neighbouring townships. This 
marsh is referred to in a grant made by King John to Thomas de 
Muleton, of ' the marsh lying between the water of Spaldyinge and 
the water of Tyd.' 

The area of land added to the parish of Holbeach under the 
first enclosure was 9, 798 acres, and to Whaplode 1,057 acres; and under 
the second, 2,059 acres in Holbeach and 166 acres in Whaplode. In 
1833 an attempt was made to enclose about 900 acres in this parish, 
and Gedney, by Thimbleby , Woods and Sers, the contract for the work 
being let to Smith Simpson for ^"13,480 ; but in February, 1S35, the 
bank was damaged by a heavy gale, and the contractor ruined. In 
1838 a second attempt to enclose 533 acres of this marsh was made 
by Messrs. Johnson and Sturton, who had purchased the property, 
under the direction of Mr. Lewin of Boston, the cost of enclosure 
amounting to ^37 an acre. This enclosure bank derived its name, 
' Bull Dog Bank,' from the fact that the navvies who were engaged 
in its construction seized a bull dog, which a bailiff had brought 
with him to assist in the arrest of one of the men, and, having killed 
it, buried it in the bank. In 1840 the remaining portion of the 
marsh was enclosed under the direction of Mr. Millington. 

The addition to the original area of the parish of Holbeach by 
these enclosures from the sea was 12,390 acres, and of Whaplode 
1,223 acres. 

The fen, or that portion of these parishes south of the Raven 
Bank, is in the South Holland Drainage District, and is drained by 
the South Holland Drain into the Xene. The part north of the 
Raven Bank is under the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers, and 
drains into the Welland. 

The principal drains are the Holbeach and Whaplode rivers, 
which run northwards through these parishes from the Raven Bank, 
the boundary of the South Holland Drainage District, to a common 
outfall in the South Holland Bank, and thence by a cut, one mile in 
length, to the new channel of the Welland. The Holbeach river 
at its upper end has two branches, called respectively ' the new 
river ' and ' the old river,' which, after running through the fen 
nearly parallel, unite at Cockle Bridge, whence they flow on together 
for about ii miles, through Holbeach Clough, (the outfall before 
the construction of the bank of 1630), where the Holbeach and 
Whaplode rivers unite and discharge at the common outfall in the 
sea bank. The area drained by this sluice is about 10,000 acres. 



125 

The sluice is a brick structure with three openings, the centre being 
ioft. wide, and the two side openings 3ft. each. As, however, the 
doors do not open to their full width, the clear waterway is only 
12ft. The sill is 2ft. gin. above Ordnance datum. The outfall drain 
has 21ft. bottom up to Fisher's Bridge and 15ft. up to the junction 
with the Whaplode river. The sluice and drain up to the inner 
bank were constructed under the powers of the South Holland 
Embankment Act, and are now maintained by the Trustees. 

The level of the low lands in Holbeach Fen, at the upper end 
of the drain, is about 5ft. gin. above the sill of the drain, and, as the 
water in heavy floods stands at low water to a depth of 2ft. on the 
sill, these lands are imperfectly drained in wet seasons. The sill of 
the sluice is 5ft. 3m. above ordinary low water in the Welland, and wheeter W 'Auf> 
3ft. gin. above ordinary floods. 1883. 

Formerly the channel of the Welland took its course in a large 
bend to the south, passing very near this sluice. After the river 
was straightened and the channel diverted, the discharge from the 
sluice became very obstructed, owing to its distance from low water. 
The water seldom ebbed out lower than 4ft. on the sill of the sluice, 
when its level in the channel of the river, a mile distant, was 4ft. 
below the sill, making a fall of 8ft. in one mile. Mr. Millington, the cubftt, 'Dec, 
Surveyor to the Court, had advised the opening out of a channel l843 ' 

through the marsh, to be made permanent with fascine work, 
the estimated cost being from ^"2,500 to ,£"3,000, and this plan, being 
approved by Mr. Cubitt, was carried out. In summer and in dry 
seasons, this channel is still subject to be obstructed by accretion, 
but it has rendered the outfall very much more efficient than it was 
before its construction. 

This parish, in conjunction with Whaplode, obtained an Act in , BClosURE ACT . 
1812 for inclosing its common lands, and in 1835, in conjunction 52 Geo. Hi, 1812 
with Gedney, for embanking, draining and improving lands and salt 4 a S d 4,^835- V 
marshes in these parishes. 

The Act of 1812 states that at that time there was in the 
parishes of Holbeach and Whaplode, a tract of land called Holbeach 
and Whaplode Common, containing 1,800 acres, and also waste lands 
and droves, and that these in their then condition were incapable of 
improvement, and that it would be a great advantage if the 
whole of these common lands were divided and inclosed. 

The Commissioners appointed to carry out the Act were Samuel 
Dickinson of Thurganby, Robert Millington of Gedney, and Thomas 
Keeton of Market Deeping. They were to allot the land, to sell 
unnecessary droveways, to widen and repair the existing drains and 
make any new ones they deemed necessary ; to set out 10 acres of 
land in each of the parishes for the purpose of obtaining material for 
the repair of the roads ; also to set out ponds, pits and watering 
places on the commons for the use of the cattle of the occupiers ; to 



IMCLOSURE OP 
MARSHES' 



126 

sell sufficient land to defray the expenses of the Commission and 
to pay off the sum of ^3,550, owing on mortgage of 250 acres of 
land inclosed under the authority of the South Holland Drainage 
Act. The Award, after being enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace 
of Holland, was to be deposited in the Parish Church of Holbeach ; 
copies to be supplied at the rate of four pence per sheet of 72 words. 

An account of the early history of Holbeach will be found in 
the Historical Notices, by Rev. G. W. Macdonald, vicar of Holbeach 
St. Marks (published by Foster, King's Lynn, 1890) ; also in the 
Holbeach Parish Register (published by James Williamson, Lincoln, 
1892). In this book will be found information as to the bounds of the 
parish, &c. 

Gedney. — The large tract of land, containing 4,027 acres, in 
this parish, known as Gedney marsh, lying north of the Roman Bank, 
was inclosed from the sea in common with the marshes in Holbeach 
and Moulton by an embankment made about 1660 ; and a subsequent 
addition of 1,222 acres, about half of which was common land, was 
made by the South Holland Embankment, in 1793. In 1840 and 
1S50 two further inclosures, containing 597 acres, were made by Miss 
Steer, and in 1875 a further inclosure of 360 acres of common marsh 
was inclosed under an Act obtained in 1873, making a total addition 
to this parish, from land reclaimed from the sea, of 6,206 acres, 
state Papers. In a petition presented to the King by R. Colville and other 

l535 " owners of the Manor of Gedney, it is stated that the Lords of the 

Manor had for time out of mind been possessed of the salt marsh 
called Gedney Marsh, containing 3,000 acres, which the Copyholders 
had in common, and had deposited 3,000 sheep on the same. Sir 
H. Wooton, under a grant from James I, had obtained a patent of 
this marsh, as land gained from the sea, at a rent of £i\6 a year, 
and his interest had passed to the petitioners. These marshes 
were probably included in the grant made to the Duke of Argyle in 
1615, on condition that the Adventurers should '«« and embank' 
them, and were inclosed by the bank made in 1660. 
t«e re*. The fen, or that part of the parish lying south of the Raven 

Bank, is in the South Holland Drainage District and drains to the 
Xene. The part north of the Raven Bank is under the jurisdiction 
of the Court of Sewers. North of the Roman Bank there are 
several public drains originally made by the South Holland Embank- 
ment Commissioners and now maintained by them. The outfalls are 
at Dawsmeer Sluice, with 5ft. waterway, and Boatmeer Sluice with 
4ft. waterway. Two additional sluices, ' Garland's ' and ' Baker's,' 
were constructed in the new sea bank. Owing to the inclosures 
which have been made since the South Holland bank was construct- 
ed, additional sluices have had to be made in the outer bank. The 
water originally discharging at Bakers Sluice now goes to Boat- 
meer. 



BANK HATES. 



127 

Part of this parish drains by Lutton Learn and is taxed to pay 
for the new sluice erected in 1888. 

This parish obtained an Act, when the South Holland Embank- incisure act. 
ment was made, for Inclosing and Dividing the Common Salt 31 Geo. m. 
Marshes and Waste Lands in Gedney and in Gedney Fen. A further 
Act was obtained, in conjunction with Holbeach in 1835, for 4 and^ 5 will, iv., 
inclosing land in these parishes. A third Act was obtained in 
1873, for embanking and inclosing a further tract of about 360 acres 36 and 37 Vict.. 
of marsh, which had accreted outside the South Holland Embank- 
ment, since its construction about 1793. The length of the bank 
was 2 miles 4 chains and the contract for its construction was 
^"7,000, equal to about ^23 per acre inclosed. Considerable difficulty 
was experienced in the construction of this bank, the work being 
much damaged by a high tide and storms before it was finally 
completed. 

Under the Act of 1873 a meeting of the Commoners interested „ CCT1NGS D r 
in the Commonable Salt Marshes and in the Allotments, is held c °» MO ~" s - 
annually on Easter Monday, in the parish church of Gedney, to 
elect delegates and pass the accounts. 

The rate laid in 1893 was 5/~ an acre, which produced ^91 10s. 
4d. The herbage makes £5 a year. The disbursements consisted 
of payment to the delegates ^"10 10s., officer's salary ^"io, expen- 
diture on the sea banks, &c, £52 7s. 3d., showing for that year an 
excess of receipts over expenditure of ^"23 13s. id. 

Fleet. — The fen part of the parish, known as Fleet Fen, lying division or 
south of the Raven Bank, is in the South Holland Drainage district. 

The centre part of the parish, lying between the Raven Bank 
and the Roman Bank, and that between the Roman Bank and 
the South Holland Embankment, drain by Fleet Haven. The 
portion of this drain north of the Roman Bank, and the outer sluice, 
were constructed and are now maintained by the South Holland 
Embankment Commissioners. Fleet Haven Sluice was made with 
an opening of 8ft. 

A further enclosure of salt marsh, which had accreted outside 
the South Holland Bank, was made between 1834-40, and the Fleet 
Haven Drain was continued across this enclosure, a sluice being 
constructed in the new bank. Part of this parish drains by Lutton 
Leam and is taxed to pay for the cost of the new sluice erected in 
1888. A small piece of marsh land, containing about 255 acres, was 
added to this parish by the enclosure made in 1660. 

The common waste lands and droves in this parish, containing 
500 acres, were enclosed under an act passed in 1794, the commis- 34 Geo. m, 
sioners being George Maxwell of Fletton, Edward Hare of Castor, 
and John Walker of Sutton St. Mary, the remuneration for their 
services being fixed at £2 2s. a day. These Commissioners 
were to allot the common lands and also certain droves which were 



PARISH. 



DRAINAGE* 



INCLOSURE 



128 



INCLOSURE OF 
SUTTON MARSH. 

State Papers, 

1640. 



NEWLANO'S IM> 
CLOSURE. 1720. 



considered wider than necessary ; to sell part of the land to pay the 
expenses ; to set out such public or private roads as they deemed 
necessary, the latter being not less than 40ft. wide ; and to set out two 
acres of the common land for the purpose of getting material for 
these roads. This act also amended the clauses in the South 
Holland Drainage Act of 1793, as to the sale of land in this parish 
and Holbeach. The Award was directed to be enrolled with the 
Clerk of the Peace of Holland and a copy was to be deposited in the 
parish church of Fleet. 

Long Sutton. — This parish includes the hamlets of Sutton 
St. Mary, Sutton St. Nicholas, (otherwise, Lutton,) Sutton St. James 
and Sutton St. Edmund's. Each of these hamlets is separately 
rated to the poor and maintains its own highways. 

There is a tradition, for which however there does not appear 
to be much foundation, that anciently there was a village called 
Dalproon, on a site near the South Holland Sluice and that it was 
washed away in the great flood of 1236. The tradition is preserved 
in the following lines : — 

When Dalproon stood. 
Long Sntton was a. wood : 
When Dalproon was washed down, 
Long Sntton became a town. 

The large tract known as Sutton Marsh, containing 6,760 acres, 
was enclosed from the sea in the middle of the 17th century. In 
1640, King Charles I, by letters patent, granted these marshes to 
the Duke of Lenox under a rent of ^"300 a year, with power to 
embank and inclose them. The inclosure bank commenced at the 
sluice in Dereham Drain (now incorporated in the South Holland 
Drain) at the north-east corner of Tydd St. Mary's Marsh, and ran 
by Sutton Wash, West Mere Creek and King John's House, to a 
sluice, afterwards known as Anderson's Sluice, in Lutton Leam, 
about i\ miles east of the Roman Bank. It then turned west for 
about 2 miles, to the point where the Roman Bank bends south, 
known as Sutton Corner. The Roman Bank, which runs south 
through Sutton St. Mary, formed the west boundary. 

In 171 7, Lord Lenox's interest was sold by order of the Court 
of Chancery, and was purchased by a Mr. Wollaston for ^"31,800} 
the unembanked lands being estimated by the purchaser as being 
as valuable as those which had been inclosed. Opposition was 
raised against the inclosure of the open marshes, and a petition was 
presented to the King (against a Bill which had been introduced), 'for 
preventing the inning and embanking ' of these salt marshes. The 
overflowing of the tide on these marshes was stated ' as scarce ten 
times a year two feet deep.' The bill was withdrawn and in 1720 
Mr. Newland, who had then become the owner, made an in- 
closure of 1,332 acres, the bank starting about three quarters of a 



INCLOSURES. 



THE COMMONS. 



129 

mile north-east of Sutton Wash and running, in an irregular line along 
the east side of the present channel of the Xene, to the point where 
the west light tower stands, then turning west to the bank near 
Anderson's Sluice and Lutton Leam. Part of this inclosure now 
lies on the east side of the new outfall of the Nene. In 1733 these 
lands became the property of Guy's Hospital. 

In 1747 a further inclosure of 762 acres was made, 52S acres of cuts hosp.t.l 
which lie between Lutton Leam and Gedney parish, and 234 acres 
south of the Lsam. A new sluice was put in the Leam about 
if miles east of Anderson's Sluice, which was known as Bothamley's 
or Baxter's Sluice, now removed. 

A further inclosure of 313 acres, called Shearcroft's Inclosure, 
was made by Guy's Hospital in 1S05, and the present inner Leam 
Sluice was constructed. The bank of this inclosure extends from 
Skate's Corner, near the Lighthouse Towers, to Boatmeer Creek. 

The last inclosure of 400 acres was made in 1865, and the 
sluice erected close to the river Xene outfall, under the direction of 
Mr. Millington. 

Up to nearly the end of the last century there was a large tract 
of Common Land in this parish, containing between 3,000 and 4,000 
acres. The whole of this common and the marshes from Tydd 
Gote toLutton were without trees or hedges. They grew a rough grass 
and nettles, and were grazed by horses, cattle, sheep and pigs, often 
sent by owners of stock from considerable distances, on agistment. 
The road from Lincolnshire to Xorfolk traversed this common and 
marsh, to the Cross Keys Wash, which was only fordable at low 
water. Drovers with their cattle for Lynn and Xorwich markets, 
horses, vehicles and foot passengers were piloted over the two miles 
of the Wash bv guides on horseback, the foot passengers being 
mounted on pillions behind the guides. Accidents frequently 
occurred, owing to the shifting nature of the sands. 

In 1 S3 1 the Nene embankment and roadway towards Lynn, two sutton bridge. 
miles in length, was made by a company of Proprietors, under an 
Act obtained in 1S25. An oak bridge was constructed across the 
new cut of the Xene, the centre portion of which was made to open 
upwards to allow vessels to pass. This was replaced by a swing 
bridge in 1851, which in 1866 was transferred to the railway 
company. 

Between 17SS and 1790 the common marshes and fens in this inclosure act. 
parish were divided and inclosed under an Inclosure Act. The * 8 ueo ' '"' l?s8 ' 
commons dealt with were Long Sutton Common, containing 2,500 
acres ; a fen, called Sutton St. Edmund's Common, containing 700 
acres; and several common waste grounds. 

The Commissioners appointed to carry out the Act were 
Edward Hare of Castor, Edward Stone of Leverington, and John 
Oldham of Tydd St. Mary. Their remuneration was fixed at £2 2s, 



130 



DRAINAGE, 



LUTTON LEAH. 



Dugdale. 



a day, including their expenses. They were to allot the lands, and sell 
a portion of the commons to pay the expenses ; to set out such roads 
as they deemed necessary — one of a width of 66ft., running across the 
common from Dereham's Drain to the Old Leam and thence by 
Steward's Marsh to the turnpike, and adjoining the west side of the 
Guy's Hospital estate, (now known as Hospital Drove) ; to 
set out 10 acres of land, for the purpose of getting materials for the 
repair of the turnpike road which passed through the parish, which 
land was to vest in the Turnpike Trustees. The Award, when en- 
rolled, was to be deposited in the parish church of Sutton St. Mary. 

In 1S27, when the New Cut for the Xene was made, a portion 
of this parish was severed and left on the east side of the river and 
about 200 acres were taken for the cut and banks. 

A small part of the south-west portion of Sutton St. Mary is 
in the South Holland Drainage District, the remaining portion of 
Sutton St. Mary and Sutton St. Nicholas drain by the Lutton 
Leam Sluice into the Xene. 

Lutton Leam is a very ancient outfall. In the Records of a 
Court of Sewers held at King's Lynn in 1613 it is described as 'the 
deep called Lutton Leame.' It was at that time proposed to bring 
the water from Wisbech and Elm, which then drained by the Four 
Gotes, across Tydd marsh and Sutton marshes to King's Cruke, and 
thence to fall into ' the deep called Lutton Leame,' which was 
stated to be a shorter course to the river by six miles, and as having 
a much better outfall. 

The outfall of the Leam was originally at Lutton Gote in the 
Roman Bank, but when the inclosure bank of 1660 was made, a 
new sluice, called Anderson's Sluice, was built \\ miles east of the 
Roman Bank. In 1774, a third sluice, known as Bothamley's or 
Baxter's Sluice, was erected, about one mile further east. This has 
since been removed. In 1806, when a further inclosure was made, 
the sluice was placed three quarters of a mile further east, where 
the inner sluice now stands, and about one mile from the Nene 
outfall. When the last, or Shearcroft's inclosure, was made in 1865, 
a new sluice was erected in the inclosure bank close to the channel 
of the Nene, and a sluice-keeper's house built near to the sluice. 
The first sluice for Shearcroft's inclosure was erected under the 
direction of Mr. Cressy, a Civil Engineer, of London. It 
however blew up on the night following its completion. The 
present inner sluice was built in 1806, under the direction of 
Mr. Thomas Pear, of Spalding, and has an opening of io|ft. 
The outer sluice, "erected in 1S65 by the Governors of Guy's 
Hospital, under the direction of Mr. Millington, had an opening of 
8ft ; the decrease in the waterway, as compared with the inner sluice, 
being compensated for by the greater depth at which the sill was 
placed. In 188 1, the sill of the 1806 sluice was lowered by the 



I3i 

Court of Sewers, the work being done by Messrs. Cooke and 
Bennett, Contractors. 

On March nth, 1883, the outer sluice was damaged by a high 
tide which made a breach through the bank of the Nene adjoining 
the sluice, and carried away the sluice-keeper's house. The cause 
of the breach was supposed to be due to a rat, or rabbit hole, in the 
bank. The sluice was taken down and rebuilt at some distance 
back from the Nene in 1888, under the direction of Mr. John 
Kingston, by Mr. James, the Contractor. The cost was ^4,326, 
which, with engineering, legal and other expenses, made the total 
cost ^5,677 ; of which ^"3,677 was paid by Guy's Hospital, and 
^"2,000 by the Court of Sewers ; the rate for the payment being 
levied on the parishes of Lutton, Gedney, Fleet, and Sutton St. 
Mary. 

The total area of land draining by the Lutton Leam is 13,000 
acres. Part of Gedney and Fleet is drained by this outfall. 

Sutton St. Edmund's Great and Little Commons, which lie to sutton st. 
the south of the Old South Holland Drain and, together with 
Inkerson Fen, extend southward to the Old Wryde Drain, contain 
about 1,200 acres. This land is the only part of Lincolnshire on the 
south of the Old South Holland or Shire Drain. It is drained by the 
New South Eau in the North Level System. The Great and *7 Geo. ii, 1754. 
Little Commons are exempted from taxation to the North Level. 

The drainage was improved under the powers of an Act obtained 49 j ^ ^"'' c * 
in 1809, for Improving the Lands lying in the late Great Common 
and in tlie Little Common of Sutton St. Edmunds, in the Parish of 
Sutton St. Mary, otherwise Long Sutton. 

The land was formerly drained by two windmills, driving scoop- 
wheels, the one, known as Woolmer's, about 50 yards north of 
Windmill corner ; the other about if miles more to the north, called 
Hockerson's, which threw the water into the Old South Eau, under 
Murrow Bank above the Clows, and thence into the Shire Drain. 
The tax, at that time, was 5/- an acre. 

The drainage is under the power of the Commissioners appoin- 
ted by the Act of 1754. 

St. Edmund's paid ^1,700 to the North Level Drainage in 1828, 
for sending its water down the North Level Drain, to a sluice erected 
under the direction of Mr. Millington. 

The mill and wheel were done away with when the New North 
Level Drain was made. Woolmer's mill was pulled down in 1843, 
and Hockerson's mill, after being superseded by a steam engine, was 
pulled down in 1838. 

The amount raised by rates in the Sutton St. Edmund's Great 
Common District, according to the return 1892-3, was ^27. The 
Expenditure on Works, £11; Management, £17 ; Interest, ^4; 
Total £32. There was an outstanding loan of ^"90. 



i 3 a 



SUTTON S 
JAMES* 



This part of the parish was formerly drained by Lutton Leam 
through a branch of the old South Eau, which went east of Sutton 
church. About 1 736 it was drained by a windmill and scoop-wheel 
into the Shire Drain by means of the Dunton Drain. In 1786 the 
Court of Sewers directed the discontinuance of the payment to the 
Leam drainage. In 1S16 a right to drain direct into the Shire 
Drain by Denham's Drain, as an experiment for 20 years, was 
purchased from the proprietors of the Estate. In 1836 the right 
was made perpetual. Sutton Saint James paid ^850 towards the 
cost of the Nene Outfall, made in 1830. It was attempted to make 
this land also contribute towards the cost of the North Level Drain, 
but, after the matter had been before a Parliamentary Committee, 
it was discharged from any payment. The Drainage Mill was 
taken down and sold in 1836. 
■■■closure or Tydd St. Mary. — Tydd St. Mary's Marsh, lying between the 

Shire Drain on the south and the New South Holland Drain (which 
replaced Dereham's Drain) on the north, containing about 1,131 
acres, was inclosed by Vermuyden, under an agreement with King 
Charles, dated 1631, about which time the Bedford Level Commis- 
sioners straightened and improved the Shire Drain. Hill's Sluice at 
the Tydd Gote is dated 1632, and was then probably the outfall to the 
Shire Drain, its water subsequently being directed to the Foul Anchor, 
when the first Gunthorpe Sluice was erected near the Foul Anchor Inn. 
When the marsh was inclosed about 600 acres near the village 
the comoiis. wer g \ e ft f or j-jjg householders to use in common, no limit as to the 
number of stock to be put on by each inhabitant being reserved. 
The commons were consequently stocked so heavily that hardly a 
blade of grass was left. Thistles and nettles grew luxuriantly, as it 
was nobody's special duty to keep them down. Sheep and lambs 
were frequently lost amongst them and were worried to death by 
■■closure act. maggots. In 1792 an Act was obtained for the inclosure of this 
32 Geo. iii, c 25, common land; each householder who had stocked the common 
during the previous 20 years, however small his holding, being 
admitted as having an equal right. 

In 1 773 an Act was obtained for draining the lands in Tydd St. 

ia'ceoTiii. f* 60, Mary, with those in Tydd St. Giles and Newton, these latter being in 

I7 ^2" the Isle of Ely. In 1S0S an amending Act was obtained, and a 

43 isS. " **■ further amending Act in 1S27. These Acts principally relate to the 

7 and s Geo. iv. drainage of Tydd St. Giles, which is in the North Level. 

c. 85, 1827. . 

This parish paid £300 to the Xorth Level District in 152S forthe 
right to drain some of its outer lands, known as Rippingale, Chapel 
and Tilney. The tunnel into the Shire Drain at Eau, or High Bank, 
near Marwold Lane was constructed in 1S49, and Wanton's tunnel 
into the South Holland Drain was lowered in 1 S53. 

The roads in this parish, and in Long Sutton, are known as gates ; 
thus, there is Bad Gate, Chapel Gate, Gilbert Gate, Acres Gate, 



'33 

Broad Gate, Elder's Gate, Hunt's Gate, Low Gate, Roe Gate and 
Cross Gate. Some of the roads are also distinguished as dykes, as 
Master Dyke, Bully Dyke, Draw Dyke and Green Dyke. 

The Hamlet of Tydd Gote is named from the fact of the outfall 
gote or sluice being built there. The earliest recorded sluice is men- 
tioned in 1293, the second in 1551, the third and present —called 
Hill's Sluice, or Tydd Gote Bridge — in 1632. This was erected by 
the Bedford Level Adventurers, when they turned their North 
Level water from Guyhime. 



TVDD SOTC. 



134 



CHAPTER V. 

The River Witham. 
course or the j jjj? riv er Witham takes its rise near Thistleton and South 

RIVER. I 

J_ Witham, about ten miles north of Stamford, at an elevation 
of 339ft. above the level of the sea, and, after a circuitous course of 
about 68 miles, empties itself into Boston Deeps. The shape of the 
river may be compared to a horse shoe, the upper part of the shoe 
being at Lincoln, and the two ends respectively at South Witham 
and Fishtoft, the distance between the two points being about 28 
miles. 

The Witham, on leaving Thistleton and South \\ itham, flows 
almost due north, past Colsterworth, Great and Little Ponton, to 
Grantham, where it is 170ft. above the sea. It then continues its 
northerly course past Belton and Syston, whence it takes a westerly 
direction to Long Bennington, receiving on its way the Honington 
Brook, and a stream, one head of which rises in the Vale of Belvoir 
and the other at Denton, and both united join the Witham at 
Hougham. It then again turns north, and passes Claypole, 
Bamaby, Beckingham, Stapleford, Thurlby, and Hykeham. At 
the latter place another tributary joins it, having its rise near 
Caythorpe and Fulbeck, and then continues through a wide valley 
to Lincoln, where it is only 16ft. above sea level. The principal 
tributaries received in this part of its course are the Brant, 15 miles 
long, which -rises near Brandon, and the Till, 14 miles long, which 
passes through Saxelby, Willingham and Upton. 
Watrr Supply of The geological formation is principally oolitic, and ex- 

De"Rance. tends over 797 square miles, part of which is covered by alluvial 
deposit ; 6 square miles consist of trias ; 240 of has ; and 36 of 
greensands and gault. 

The river then passes through a deep depression in the cliff 
which runs through this part of the country, and, after leaving 
Lincoln, takes an easterly direction for about 8 miles ; then, bending 
south for about 22 miles, reaches Boston, where it becomes tidal 
and navigable for large vessels ; and, finally, after a further course 
of 8 miles through a trained channel, discharges into the estuary at 
Clayhole. Between Lincoln and Boston it is canalised and navig- 
able for barges. 



THE BANE. 



THE SLtA- 



135 

The Langworth, which rises in the chalk hills between Market ""•»««»»'»• 
Rasen and Louth, after a course of 18 miles, joins the river a short 
distance below Lincoln. 

The Bane, which rises in the same range of chalk hills near 
Ludford, is 25 miles long, and passes through Horncastle and 
Scrivelsby, joining the Witham near Tattershall. From Horncastle 
to the Witham this tributary is canalised. The Slea, which rises 
in the oolite near Ancaster and is fed by some strong oolite springs 
at Sleaford, is also canalised, and joins the Witham near Dogdyke, 
the length from the source being 22 miles. 

The total length of the main stream is 89 miles, and of the length. 
principal tributaries, 98 miles. 

The area of the drainage basin may be divided as follows : — drainaoe area. 

High Land. Low Land. Total 
Acres. Acres. Acres. 

River Witham, above the Grand Sluice 414,998 33,897 448,895 

Draining by the Black Sluice ... 57,490 76,861 134,351 
Draining by Maud Foster and Hobhole 

Sluices ... ... ... 21,330 62,576 83,906 

Draining by Outfalls under control of 

the Court of Sewers ... ... 13,600 



680,752 
In the report of the Parliamentary Committee on River Con- 
servancy the area of the drainage basin is given as 1 ,050 square 
miles, or 672,000 acres. 

Sir John Hawkshaw makes the area draining by the Grand 
Sluice greater than the above, and thus divides it : — ■ 

High Level. 
Acres. 

Draining into the River Witham above Lincoln ... 152,000 

Draining into the Fossdyke .. . ... ... ... 53,000 

Draining into north-east side of the Witham below Lincoln 167,000 

Draining into the Cardyke ... ... ... ... 40,000 

Draining into Billinghay Skirth ... ... ... 19,000 

Draining into the Sleaford Navigation ... ... 34,000 

465,000 
Lowlands drained by pumping ... ... ... 39,000 



NAME OF 



Total ... ... ... ... 504,000 

of which 205,000 acres lie above Lincoln, and 299,000 below. 

The river has been called by three different names. Dr. Oliver 
states that the ancient British name was Grant Avon, or the divine " ,VER - 

stream. The name of the principal town on the river, Grant-ham, 
is evidence in favour of this. Lei and is the authority for its being 
subsequently known as the Lindis. Camden also says, ' the course 
of Lindis river from Lincoln to Boston is 50 miles by water, as the 
creeks go ' ; but there is evidence that the river was known as the 
Witham long antecedent to the time when Camden wrote. 



136 

There is no record of the name by which it was known during 

the Roman period. Since the Saxon times it has been known as the 

Witham. The word Witham is probably derived from Wye-otn, or 

river plain. 

'"""' couR.t There is every reason to suppose that the river now known as 

OF1HE RIVER. -* * * 

the Witham, extending from its source above Grantham to the sea 
below Boston, is the result of the union of the two streams, the 
Witham and the Langworth. The Witham proper originally dis- 
charged its contents into the large mere above Lincoln, and so 
drained to the Trent. The Langworth emptied into the large mere 
lying between Washingborough and Chapel Hill, the outlet for its 
water being by the tidal creek which extended from the lower part 
of this mere, through the marshes where Boston now stands, to the 
sea. Another outlet probably ran through the East and West Fens 
to Wainfleet Haven. The two large lakes, one above and one below 
Lincoln, which existed previous to the drainage works carried out 
by the Romans, were separated by comparatively high ground, 
extending from the edge of the peat, near Greetwell, to Lincoln. 

The land lying west of Lincoln towards the Trent is all very 
low, and beneath the level of the flood water in that river. A 
practical proof of this was given in 1795 when the bank of the Trent 
at Spalford broke, and the whole area of land between the Trent and 
Padiey-s Lincoln was under water, in some parts to a depth of ten feet, the 
course of the water being stopped by the High-street, which is 
raised from 12ft. to 15ft. above the surrounding land. During the 
flood about 20,000 acres of land to the west of the city were sub- 
merged. In 1 770 the Fossdyke embankment at Torksey gave way, 
the water flowing up to Lincoln. 

There is every reason to assume that the Romans, for the 
purpose of draining the low swampy ground to the north and west 
of the city, and for the purpose of allowing boats to get there from 
the Trent, either deepened and improved an existing watercourse, or 
cut a new channel along the line of the present Fossdyke Canal. At 
the same time they banked out the Trent and drained all the low 
ground, except the deep part of Brayford Mere. For the purpose of 
draining the Mere below Lincoln and also for making a canal, along 
which boats could get from the sea, past Boston and up to Lincoln, 
a cutting was made through the high land east of Brayford Mere, to 
Short Ferry, about two miles below Fiskerton, and thence along the 
edge of the high ground, until it joined the tidal creek near Chapel 
Hill. Down to Lincoln, the Witham, like all other rivers, has 
innumerable bends, while from Lincoln to Short Ferry, the course 
is almost a straight line, and below Short Ferry to Chapel Hill, the 
channel is only curved sufficiently to follow the high land, and is 
too direct ever to have been the course of a natural stream. There 
axe also several small tracts of fen on the east side which have been 



Fens and Floods. 



ALTERATION Ol 
THE RIVER BV 
THE ROMANS. 



LIMIT OP THE 



cut off by the channel. Below Chapel Hill, before the New Cut was 
made in 1761, the tidal creek or river was very tortuous, there being 
no less than thirty bends in a length of 12 miles. 

There is no record of any works having been carried out for 
straightening the river or making a new cut above Chapel Hill, 
except across the bend at Branston, since the Roman occupation. 
It has been stated that the tide formerly reached Lincoln, and 
that vessels came up on the tide to Lincoln past Boston. There is T,Dt - 

no doubt that after the works carried out by the Romans there was 
communication with the sea by this course, but neither then, nor 
indeed, at any time, either before or since, would it have been possible 
for the tide to reach Lincoln under the present geological conditions 
of the district. Before the flow of the tide up the river was stopped 
by the erection of the Grand Sluice, it seldom or never went beyond 
Dogdyke or Chapel Hill. The bed of the river at that time was 
higher than it is now, and the soil excavated for the deepening of the 
old channel was hard clay, the surface of which at Kirkstead was 
3$ft. above the sill of the Grand Sluice. Before the improve- 
ments were made the fall in the surface of the water from Lincoln 
to Boston was 16ft. An average spring tide rises about 13ft. at 
Boston, the surface of high water at spring tides being about 
13.34ft. above Ordnance datum (mean level of the sea.) The 
surface of the land at Lincoln, between Brayford Mere and Stamp 
End Lock, varies from 18 to 20 feet above Ordnance datum, the sur- 
face of the Mere being considerably above the level of a high tide. 
By a survey of the YVitham made in 1743, as nearly as the Grandy. 
levels from the ' primary point ' can be traced, and reduced to 
Ordnance datum, the bed of the river at the High Bridge at Lincoln, 
previous to the improvements, was i5 - 59ft. above Ordnance datum, and 
at Washingborough it was 1 i*03ft. above. The outfall below Chapel 
Hill, up which the tide flowed, being only a shallow winding creek, 
it is evident that it would not have been possible for the tide to 
flow up to Lincoln. 

The whole of the water coming down the upper Witham does 
not pass along the channel which goes through the city. A consider- 
able portion is diverted in floods by the Syncil dyke, which, leaving 
the Witham about half-a-mile above the city, joins the river 
again near the Great Northern Railway Station. There is no record 
of when this drain was cut, but there can be no doubt that its original 
purpose was to relieve the city from flooding. Stukely says, " after 
the Norman Conquest the great part of the City of Lincoln was 
turned into a Castle. I apprehend they added the last intake south- 
ward in the angle of the Witham and made a new cut called the 
Sincil dyke, on the south and east side, for its security." He gives, 
however, no authority for this statement, and it is more probable that 
it was the work of the Romans, and formed part of the system of 



SYNCIL DYKE. 



i 3 8 



Stukeley's 
Richard of 
Cirencester. , 



OUTFALL OF THE 
RIVER. 



The Finland, 

Miller&Skertctl- 

ley. 



THE FOSSDVKE. 

Dngdale's 

Embanking and 

Draining. 



drainage which they they carried out. Smeaton's and Grundy's 
report, of 1762, states that the water of Brayford Mere, into which 
the Witham falls, is prevented from running off below a certain 
height by a shoal or natural stanch in the river, between the Mere 
and Lincoln High Bridge, called Brayford Head ; that as the bottoms 
of Sincil Dyke and the Gowt Bridge Drain are several inches higher 
than the top of the shoal at Brayford Mere, those two drains serve 
only as Slaktr Drains, to ease off the passage of the water in time of 
flood. 

As regards the outfall of the river below Lincoln, Stukeley says, 
that there was an outfall for the Witham '• across that natural 
declivity full east into the sea, as in the map of Richard of 
Cirencester. This channel might pass out of the present river a 
little below Coningsby, where the River Bane falls into it at Dock 
Dyke and Youledale, by the waters of Howbridge north of Hundle- 
house. So ru nnin g below Middelhouse to Black Sike, it took the 
present division between the two wapentakes all along the south 
side of the deeps of the East Fen, and so by Blackgote to Wainfleet, 
the Vaiiwna of the Romans." 

Mr. Skertchley of the Government Geological Survey traced 
the old course across the gravel lands to the silt land of the West 
Fen, where, the deposits being identical, its course is indistinguish- 
able, and he gives a diagram showing the deposit along the supposed 
ancient channel. 

There is a free communication between the Witham and the 
Fossdyke and some of the Witham water finds its way to the Trent 
by this course. The water for locking is entirely supplied from the 
Witham. 

Dugdale describes the Fossdyke as extending " from the great 
marsh below the City of Lincoln into the Trent at Torksey seven 
miles, made by King Henry I, in the year 1121, for bringing up of 

navigable vessels from the river into the city and did no less 

benefit to the parts adjacent by draining that fenny level from the 
standing water then much annoying it." Dugdale is in error in 
ascribing the making of this watercourse to Henry I. There can 
be no doubt that Stukeley is correct in ascribing it to the Romans, 
and that it was originally a continuation of the Car Dyke. Lincoln 
at one end, and Torksey at the other, were both Roman stations. 
The work referred to by Dugdale was the opening out of the old 
canal. 

In the reign of Edward III, the Fossdyke had become so grown 
up with grass and trodden in by cattle that boats tould no longer 
pass along it, and a presentment as to its condition was made to the 
King in Parliament, by the citizens of Lincoln and the tradesmen 
of York, Nottingham and Hull, " representing the damage from 
ships and boats not being able to pass therein with merchandise and 



22 and 23 Chas 

I"- 



ANCIENT NAVIGA- 
TION TO LINCOLN- 



139 

victuals from these towns to Lincoln and thence to Boston. Where- Dug<ial 
upon Commissioners were appointed to enquire into the matter, and 
it was found that the landowners abutting on the channel ought to 1 

repair the same." Very little more is heard of the Fossdyke till the 
reign of Charles II, when an Act was passed empowering any 
person to open up the communication through the Fossdyke to 
Torksey and through the Witham to Boston, and under the powers 
of this Act the Fossdyke was again opened out. 

Stukeley says that " about eighty years ago (1755) when the 
navigation was restored to Lincoln they made a new crooked course 
for the Foss into the Trent. It went originally straight forwards 
through the riverine into the marshes.... The water at the sluice is 
generally a yard and a half higher in the Foss than in the Trent." 
The fall from the Fossdyke to the Trent is given in Mr. J. Rennie's 
report of Dec. 1802 as 6ft. In high floods the water in the Trent rises 
above that in the Fossdyke, and the lock is provided with a double 
set of gates, one pair for the purpose of holding up the water in the 
Fossdyke and the other for preventing high floods in the Trent from 
backing up into the Fossdyke. 

During the Roman occupation and after the works already 
referred to for connecting Lincoln and Boston, the Witham no 
doubt became the chief means of communication for vessels engaged 
in exporting com, and for bringing wine and goods from other 
countries. The larger vessels which crossed the sea would probably 
lie in the haven below Boston or perhaps at Dogdyke and discharge 
into smaller boats, better adapted for the navigation of the upper 
reach. By this means the long transport of the merchandise by 
land from Wainfleet, which previously had been the sea port for 
Lincoln, was saved. 

There are no records of the condition of the river for a long 
period after the Roman occupation. In William the Conqueror's 
time Lincoln was one of the most important cities in England, and 
Leland says that men flocked there by land and water. In the time 
of Henry I V Lincoln possessed a very large share of the import and 
export trade of the kingdom. The trade between Lincoln and the 
Continent, especially in wool, became very considerable and this 
city paid in Quinzine duties in one year £"656 12s. 2d., and Boston 
^"780 15s. 3d., as against ^830 12s. iod. by London. In the 
Hundred Rolls are to be found many instances of cargoes of wool 
sent down the Witham. The.trade was of sufficient importance to 
lead to the construction of a dock and warehouses at a place called 
Calscroft, near Sheepwash Grange, where the ships belonging to the 
Lincoln merchants loaded and discharged their cargoes, and where R e iigims r HousK 
the city and king's officers attended to collect the tolls. °" "" Witkam - 

There was also a dock, or place where vessels could lie and 
discharge their cargoes into smaller boats, at Dogdyke, formerly 



146 



EARLY CONDITION 
OP THE RIVER* 



Dngdale. 



spelt Docdyke, this being the extent to which the vessels could take 
advantage of the tide. In the Hundred Rolls mention is made of 
tolls taken in 1265 for vessels going to Lincoln. 

The river not being under any jurisdiction capable of keeping it 
in order, or of compelling the removal of obstructions, the Channel 
deteriorated so much that navigation became difficult. In 1342, a 
petition was sent to the King, in which it was stated that the river 
was so obstructed by mud that ships laden with wine, wool and 
other merchandise, could no longer pass as they used to do. It was 
probably owing to the defective condition of the navigation that the 
trade fell off at Lincoln ; and in 1369 the staple for wool was 
transferred to Boston. 

In the reign of Edward III, mention is made of a Commission 
sent by the King to view the river between Boston and Lincoln, 
" it having been turned out of its course in sundry places, and so 
obstructed with mud, sand, and plantation of trees, as also by flood 
gates and sluices, mills, causeys and ditches, that the course of the 
same being hindered, caused frequent inundationsof the land adjacent." 
Again, in the same reign, parliament was petitioned by the merchants 
of Lincoln and other towns, complaining of the total insufficiency 
of the river for navigation. A few years later a presentment was 
made to the court of King's Bench, showing that the channel of the 
Witham in Wildmore was bending and defective. 

In the fifteenth century several complaints were made as to the 
neglect of the Abbots of the monasteries along the river to repair 
the banks and channel. In the reign of Richard II a Commission 
was appointed for the view and repair of those banks and sewers 
betwixt Hildike and Bolingbroke, and betwixt the river Witham 
and the sea, and to do all things therein according to the law and 
custom of this realm, and according to the custom of Romney 
Marsh ; and also to take so many diggers and labourers, upon 
competent salaries, in regard of the then urgent necessity, as should 
be sufficient to accomplish that work. 

At a Court held at Stickford in 1427, complaint was made that 
Kirkstead Abbey had negledted to repair the banks of the Wytham 
from Swythut Hurne as far as Mere Dyke, by which neglect the 
marshes of the East and West Fens suffered. At a Court, held at 
Sibsey Hall in 1430, Kirkstead Abbey was again charged with 
neglecting to repair the banks near the grange of Langwathe, so 
that the waters flowed into the West Fen. At a King's Court held 
at Bolingbroke in 1444, it was shown that the Fossat, called Yoledale 
Dyke, taking the water thro' Witham Sewer and thence into Boston 
Haven, was out of repair, so that the water overflowed the King's 
Pasture and the West Fen, by neglecl of the inhabitants of 
Coningsby. At a King's Court held in 1453 the Radyke (a bank 
with a road on it), called Witham Bank in the Parish of Coningsby, 



*4» 

from Anthem's Gowt to Danebooth, was out of repair by neglect of 
the Abbot of Kirkstead. 

It is unnecessary to give instances of the numerous complaints 
that were made to the Courts as to the condition of the river. The 
above are sufficient to shew that the duty devolving on the riparian 
owners of maintaining the banks and channel was carried out very 
indifferently, and that the river was allowed to get into a very 
neglected condition. 

In the reign of Henry VII, a Commission was held, and an 
enquiry made as to the best means of improving the river, both for 
drainage and navigation. At this time "at a full spring tide in 
winter, when the flood and fresh water did meet together at Dockdyke 
the salt and fresh water strove so together that the water so ran over 
the banks and both sides of the haven that it drowned all the co mmon 
fen ; so that men might come with boats from Garwick to Boston 
town : and likewise from Boston to Kirkby land side." 

The Commission appears to have come to the conclusion that 
this state of things would be remedied if the sea water were prevented 
from flowing up the river. Accordingly it was determined to erect a 
sluice with flood gates at Boston. For this purpose a warrant was 
made out and given to the dykereeves of every township in Holland, 
or to the ' Jurats,' to bring in the book of the number of acres in their 
respective parishes, and proclamation was made in the market of 
Boston that the Dykereeves had made certificate of the correctness 
of the acre books, at the Hallgarth Inn at Boston, before the 
Commissioners there assembled for the purpose ; order was also made 
to levy statute duty and contributions. In order to hasten the work, 
a sum of ^"1,000 was borrowed until such time as it could be levied 
according to the law of Romney Marsh. The following Officers 
were also appointed, viz. a Receiver of the levy, or Prest ; two Bailiffs of 
Sewers ; four Collectors and two Expenditors. The work of erecting 
the sluice was entrusted to May Hake, probably a Dutchman, and 
an indenture was made with him to make and finish a sluice and 
dam in the Witham, in the town of Boston, on such ground as he 
might select. He and his man were to be paid at the rate of four 
shillings a day, with a gratuity of ^"50 on the successful completion 
of the work. Fourteen Stone-masons and Stone-hewers, brought 
from Calais, were to have five shillings a week ' broken or whole.' 
Ships were sent to Calais to fetch materials and ' the stuff and stone ' 
were to be conveyed to the churchyard at Boston. 

The sluice was built in the middle of the river, a little to the 
north of the present iron bridge. It was connected with the land on 
each side and formed a bridge, and with alterations and numerous 
repairs remained the only bridge across the river until the erection of 
the present iron bridge in 1807. A stone pier 13ft. wide and 43fft 
long was built in the centre of the river. On this by means of large 



HAKE'S SLUICC 



I 4 2 



GrandfsIlepoTt, 

'757- 



UHGRICK GOTE, 



Chapman's 
Facts and Re- 
marks. 



DECAY OF THE 
RIVER. 



DugdanVs 

Embanking and 

Draining. 



Stale Papers, 
1633. 



iron hooks the doors for excluding the tide were hung, and recesses 
were left in the masonry for the doors when open. There were two 
openings, the large one 44ft. wide, and the small one 2i£ft., or a total 
waterway of 65jft. In a reference to this bridge in a pamphlet 
published in 1642, it is stated that the doors were then no longer in 
existence and that the tide flowed several miles above Boston. In 
the year 1700, spring tides are stated to have risen ten feet at a 
distance of five miles above Boston, and it is stated in a paper by one, 
Dr. Browne, written about the year 1560, " that the sluice was not 
according to the first meaning and determination, but should have 
been made with a pair of fludd gates, that the fludd should have no 
further course than the bridge, but so to have returned back again ; 
and the fresh water following the salt, which should continue fresh 
above the bridge, to have had at all times fresh water for the 
commodity of the town during the time of the fludd. And also to 
have scoured the haven daily, both above the sluice and to the 
seaward." 

About the year 1601, in the reign of Elizabeth, a further attempt 
to improve the drainage was made by erecting a new gote of four 
brick tuns or openings, at Langrick, with doors pointing towards the 
river, for the purpose of discharging the water from the Gill Syke 
Drain which conveyed the water from Holland Fen, and which 
previously had discharged into the Welland. 

From this time the river continued to decay, owing partly to the 
decline of trade and commerce at Boston, and also to the suppression 
of the Religious houses by Henry VIII ; the owners of which had 
always been assiduous in attending to the work of drainage, and 
had given employment to the vessels navigating the river by importing 
large quantities of wine and other merchandise from the Low 
Countries. With reference to this, Dugdale says, "It hath been a long 
received opinion, as well by the borderers on the Fens as others, that 
the total drowning of this great level hath for the most part been 
occasioned by the neglect of putting the laws of sewers in due 
execution in these latter times ; and that before the dissolution of the 
monasteries by Henry VIII, the passages for the waters were kept with 
cleansing, and the banks with better repair, chiefly through the care 
and cost of those religious houses." 

In 1633, when the Adventurers were attempting to drain the 
East and West Fens, in a communication from the King to the 
Court of Sewers it is stated that it was found impossible to keep the 
fens drained unless the banks of the Witham from the Bane to 
Anthon's Gote were kept in repair, and directing that a sufficient 
tax be laid on Wildmore or Armetree Fen and such other grounds 
as he under the said bank, and to make a bargain with the under- 
takers for their present and perpetual maintenance. The fens along 
the Witham were included in a grant made to the Earl of Lindsey, 



143 

Sir W. Killigrew, Sir Edward Heron, and others, in the reign of n "^*™"™ 

Charles II. The area granted covered 72,000 acres on the north TU » EBS ' '•"■ 

side of the Witham, extending from the river Glen to Lincoln, and 

from Lincoln to the Trent. The Adventurers were to drain the 

lands and make them winter grounds and to have as their State PaperS| 

recompense 24,000 acres. The adventure was divided into 20 Domestic. 

shares ; each shareholder finding a proportionate amount of the 

capital required and receiving in return his proportion of the land 

awarded. The Earl, within two years after the contract was made 

with the Court of Sewers, in accordance with the terms of the grant, 

began the draining and performed it according to his contract, 

making all the level ' winter ground,' except 7,000 acres, left ' for 

receptacles for water,' and he and his co-adventurers were put in 

possession of 14,000 acres, part of the lands contracted for. A tax 

of 13s. 4d. per acre had, before the contract was made, been ordered 

by the Court to be paid by the owners, and those who paid this, the 

Earl of Lincoln being one, kept their lands, although the works of 

drainage greatly exceeded this amount. 

The works carried out by these Adventurers became ultimately 
abortive, owing to the opposition and lawlessness of the Fenmen- 

In the reign of Charles II, an Act was passed with the object of ACT FOR THE ,„. 
improving the navigation between Boston and the Trent through 
Lincoln. The preamble of this act recites that " whereas there 
hath been for some hundreds of years a good navigation betwixt the Mand „ chas 
Borough of Boston and the river of Trent by and through the City "■ 

of Lincoln, and thereby a great trade managed to the benefit of 
those parts of Lincolnshire, and some parts of Nottinghamshire and 
Yorkshire, which afforded an honest employment and livelyhood to 
great numbers of people. But at the present time the said naviga- 
tion is much obstructed and in great decay, by reason that the river 
or antient channels of Witham and Fossdyke which run betwixt 
Boston and Trent are much silted and landed up, and thereby not 
passable with boats and lighters as formerly, to the great decay of 
the trade and commerce of the said city and all market towns neare 
any of the said rivers ; which hath produced in them much poverty 
and depopulation." By this Act power was given to the Mayor and 
Corporation of Lincoln to receive tolls upon the Witham and 
Fossdyke for the purpose of improving the river. 

No improvement appears to have been effected on the Witham 
under this act, the works being confined to the Fossdyke. 

In a report on the condition of the river made bv Mr. lames 

^ ^ J CONDITION OF 

Scribo in 17^, he found as the result of ' an exact ' survev of the THe; R,WCR ■" 

*-'•'' -* THE1STHCEN- 

river between Lincoln and Boston made by John Pitchford, that the tuw. 

fall of the water from Lincoln to Boston was 16ft. ; that the haven 
or river, for above 20 miles, was very crooked and winding and in 
several places not above iSft, or 20ft. in breadth and very shallow ; 



PROVEMENT OF 

THE NAVIGATION, 

16T1. 



i44 



Scribo's Report, 
'733- 



SCRIBO'S 
SCHEME OF in 

PROVEMeNT 



NORTH FORTV 
FOOT DRAIN. 



Chapman's 
Facts and Re- 
marks. 



Fig. 6. 



and that there were several large rivers and brooks which broug 
down the water from the uplands, five of which were any of the 
larger than the aforesaid winding haven, so that after the gre 
downfall of rains and snows, which frequently happens in the wint 
season, and the river below Chapel Hill not being of sufficie 
capacity to carry down the floods, the banks were generally ove 
flowed and several thousand acres of rich pasture land were la 
under water to the depth of three feet, to the great prejudice of tl 
landowners, as well as the navigation ; and that these waters n 
mained on the land and stagnated for 3 or 4 months ; he found tl 
navigation between Lincoln and Boston Was so bad that only vesse^ 
of very small burden could pass from one place to the other ; thai 
several proprietors had endeavoured, at great expense, to remedy th(* 
inconvenience to their drainage by cutting drains, erecting engines." 1 
and embanking their separate estates, but without success ; hf 
expressed the opinion, that if this state of things continued i 
would not be many years before the navigation would be entireh 
lost, and draining thereby rendered impracticable. To remedy this 
he proposed a scheme of improvement, including a new straight cuf, 
from Tattershall through Holland Fen to Lodowick's Gowt a1 
Boston, reducing the distance from over 20 miles, which it was 
along the existing winding course, to 1 1\ miles ; or, as an alternative 
a cut from Tattershall through Wildmore Fen to Anton's Gow1 
Three locks were to be placed in the river, one between Lincoln an( 
Creampoke Sluice, the second at Hare Booth, the third at the uppe 
end of the new cut, " this to have strong sea gates to stem the sal J 
water from flowing up the river in dry seasons." The estimate fo 
the Holland Fen Cut was ^9,706, and for the one through Wile 
more Fen ^6,363. Nothing, however, was done towards carrying 
out this scheme. 

About the year 1720 Earl Fitzwilliam, having made repeated . 
application, without success, to the Court of Sewers to drain hii v 
lands lying in Billinghay Dales and Hart's Grounds, on the west 
side of the river near Kyme Eau, determined to undertake the worl 
himself. For this purpose he constructed a drain, commencing 
above Chapel Hill, passing under Kyme Eau and running nearby 
parallel with the present course of the Witham, to Brothertoft, j 
whence it turned at a sharp angle, in an easterly direction and joined I 
the Witham near where the footpath leaves the Carlton road fon 
Boston West. A sluice was built at its junction with the river, r 
called Lodowick's Gowt, having a waterway of 15ft. This drain, 
known as the North Forty Foot, was subsequently diverted into the 
Black Sluice Drain by a cut to Cook's lock. 

Great objection was raised to the cutting of this drain at the 
time, on the ground that it diverted water from the river, which used 
to find its way into Langrick Gowt and assisted in keeping the 



, 










^a/ 












Sv 1 


"> 


«3 


















R/kerton 


^*«H*l* 


° \dr 






lorrjr WllingTiairUR, i-4 ,„»-..«.>»' 


t «£ 




\ 








/ ^ 

.' i^n 






1 

f 






xreetwell _ 


w _^£ >*' 


'"'# 


'"((, 


" ¥■-., 


'•mU 





W'tJ ''"' /.»"'' 



SJBar&ie)' 



VV t V, V** 



7/ / // 



M 7 "i.„„i V 



V J 



'■"% i i \ 

VH^KnWWa* 



*%*. 



VTathinhvT^h. 



ft*** 



KmwoTdi J)i. 



daraviok 



RIVER WIT HAM . 

Trom TXian Iry J. Grvuunxty. 
l if62. 



<^#»? <> 






_£ 








£ 



Ik 

Marham 



h- 0tUkn«y 






/>5 



€/wrry Corner 



i Abljejf 



"IWJ^ 



laiterniaftj 

/ J* 
^ / 
% J* 



jfeConefty 






JMAfy 



«j/ 



TT X T \ T j£ 



^fe. 



vk 



^ 



^"^JZo 




*&'W 




■wit* 



k iiOJOWick GcwtY 



JbL 



SrotKcwtoft 
Cliapel 



;*^ 



M 



-W 



Jfeh.31ci>V«c"k 






% 



Xeokmsfo* jj^ 



Gr«»t 3(«1» 



JfeL 



H5 



portion of the river between there and Boston open. It does 
not appear to have afforded much relief to the land it was in- 
tended to benefit, for it is said that the tenants cut the banks 
to rid themselves of the water and let it flow into Holland Fen. 
It must, however, have been of some use, as, owing to the 
wretched condition of the Witham, it is stated that at that time 
the principal part of the water forced its way out of the main 
channel at Chapel Hill into Lord Fitzwilliam's Drain and, flow- 
ing down that, reached the Haven through Lodowick's Gowt. 
And to such an extent did the river continue to decay and 
its bed to silt up, that it was reported that " the Lady of the 
Manor's tenant inclosed and took to himself a great part of the old bed' 
of the river, where it passed through Wildmore Fen, and called his 
new acquisition, marshes." N. Kinderley, who inspected the river 
in 1736, reported that there were " no banks from Dogdyke to Lincoln 
on the west side to keep the upland water from flooding the lands, 
and also on each side to near Tattershall, and so, by spreading, the 
water loseth its velocity and quantity, which, if kept in a body, would 
scour the river, which is now daily rising. Where it meets the sea 
tides every spring at Dogdyke, the land on each side, where no banks 
are, is constantly drowned on every land flood. The tides did not 
flow much above Anthony's Gowt, and the bed of the river was 
silted up within two feet of the top of the banks." 

The width of the river at this time was 83ft. at high water, and 
65ft. at low water, near Boston Church ; 63ft. through Boston 
Bridge, and 103ft. at high water and 66ft. at low water, at Doughty's 
Quay. The greatest rise of the tide at the Bridge was 13ft. and 
the low water stood 4ft. on the sill of Lodowick's Gowt. 

The course of the river, as it then existed, is shown on th e 
plan, Fig. 6, taken from Mr. Grundy's map of 1762. At this 
time a considerable portion of the West and Wildmore 
Fens, and part of the East Fen and the East Holland parishes, 
used to get rid of their water by drains entering the Witham at 
Anthony's Gowt, and by a sluice known as New Gote. In 1735 a 
Jury of the Court of Sewers, summoned to consider a petition of the 
Owners of land in this district complaining of the great losses they 
had sustained, owing to the defective condition of these outfalls, found 
that " the river Witham was nearly lost by reason of the alteration 
and destruction of the course of the Channel and especially through 
great quantities of sand thrown into the same by the force of the 
sea." A report, published some years later, described " this once 
flourishing river " as having for many years " been falling into decay 
by the banks being suffered to become ruinous and incapable of 
sustaining and containing the water in times of high water floods, 
so that those floods which were necessary and useful heretofore, by 
their velocity and weight, to cleanse out the sand and sediment 



N. Kinderley. 
1736. 



F(g. 6. 



Grundy and 
Langley Ed- 
wards. 1761. 



GRUNDY'S 
SCHEME. 1744. 



I46 

brought up by the tides, have been, and now are suffered to run out 
of their ancient and natural course, and expand over the adjoining 
fens and low grounds, whereby those sands, for want of a reflowing 
power of adequate force to carry them back, have now so much 
choked up the Haven from Boston to the sea, that for several years 
past the navigation thereof has been lost to shipping, and it is now 
become even difficult for barges of about 30 tons burden to get up 
to the town in neap tides ; and for several miles above the town of 
Boston the said river is totally lost, in so much that its bottom is 
in many places some feet higher than the adjoining low grounds, 
and the site thereof, converted into grazing and farming purposes 
. . . and the flood waters he so long stagnant on the land as to 
destroy the herbage thereof, and render them not only useless and 
unprofitable, but also extremely noxious and unwholesome to the 
adjacent inhabitants." 

In the year 1744, Mr. John Grundy of Spalding, in conjunction 
with his son, prepared a scheme for restoring and making perfect the 
navigation of the river Witham from Boston to Lincoln, and for 
draining the low lands contiguous. 

Messrs. Grundy proposed by their first and second schemes to 
merely widen and deepen the existing channel between Chapel 
Hill and Anton's Gowt and to cut off some of the worst curves. By 
the third scheme they proposed to make an entirely new cut from 
Chapel Hill to Anthony's Gowt along the lowest part of 'Wildmore 
Fen, a distance of seven miles. The bottom of the cut to be 20ft. wide, 
and 5ft. deeper than the existing bed of the river. Above Chapel 
Hill the channel, for three miles, was to be widened and deepened ; 
and from there to Lincoln to be scoured out and the shallow places 
removed. Three stanches were to be erected, between Lincoln and 
Tattershall, to hold up the water for navigation. The estimated cost 
was .£4,60,5. If the lower part of the channel should be made with a 
70ft. bottom, so as to make the river better for the navigation, and 
further improve the river between Tattershall and Lincoln, the 
estimate was increased to £"7,056. For the improvement of the fens 
on the west side of the river, they proposed to make a new drain from 
near Fiskerton, through the centre of the fens, under Billinghay 
Skirth and joining Kyme Eau, to enter the New Cut at Chapel Hill. 
Sluices were to be put at the end of this new Drain, and at the out- 
falls of the Bane, Billinghay Skirth and Xewdale dyke, to keep out 
the tides The cost of this, with cleaning and scouring out all the 
main drains on the east side, and making good the banks, was esti- 
mated at ^8,257. The earth-work was estimated at three shillings 
a floor for barrow work, and at two shillings for part barrow and 
part casting, or 2|d. and i|d. per cubic yard respectively. 

In 1745, Mr. Daniel Coppin also made " proposals for the more 
effectual draining all the levels contiguous to the river Witham from 



H7 

the city of Lincoln to Chappie Hill and likewise all the fens and low °;"'™" 1 "** <> ' 
grounds which empty themselves into Lodowick's Goat ; and at the 
same time to restore the almost lost navigation upon the said river 
to a better state than ever it was." He proposed making a new cut 
from Tattershall Ferry House through Billinghay Dales, continuing 
along the course of the North Forty-foot, which was to be widened 
to 6oft., and made Sft. deep. At Lodowick's Gowt a Grand Sluice 
was to be built, which, ■' when open, was to be of sufficient capacity 
to discharge as much water as the full run of the river can produce, 
and when shut to stop the sea from getting into the new made river.' 
The sluice was to be 65ft. wide, with 16 openings of 3ft" 
each, the gates to work in oak standards, one foot wide. By 
this plan about 20 miles of the winding parts of the river Witham 
were to be cut off, and the water caused to run, in almost a direct line, 
through a deep channel and about twelve miles nearer. In order to 
restore the navigation, a separate cut was to be made near the Grand 
Sluice, from the Haven into the new river, and a double lock built, 
having a pen 40 yards long for boats to pass through. In order to 
hold up the water for the navigation, stanches were to be fixed, which 
" in a wet season were to be taken off by means of a crane and laid 
by, till wanted in a dry season, and that nothing of them would 
remain in the river but the upright posts to which they are fixed." 
One stanch was to be fixed at Tattershall Ferry, and the other at 
Monk's Ground, near Lincoln. The cost of this scheme, as estimated 
by William Jackson, was, for the sluice. /"2.6S0 ; for cutting the new 
channel, ^4,601 ; for bridges, ^"500 ; and for supervision of work, 
/"3S9 ; making a total of ,£ S.270. This was to be paid for by a rate 
of three shillings on 56,652 acres benefitted. The cost of the navi- 
gation works was put at £2,562, which was to be paid for by the 
Corporation. 

In November, 1752, and January, 1753. meetings of Land- MCCT , N<:OF 
owners interested in the drainage were held at the Reindeer L, " DO "" II,s - 
Inn at Lincoln, to consider the state of the river. The 
scheme of Messrs. Grundy, and that of Mr. Coppin, were 
taken into consideration, and it was determined that an application 
should be made to Parliament to appoint Commissioners to consider 
the best means of effectually draining the fens and low grounds. 
In order to defray the cost of carrying out the scheme, and of pre- 
serving the drainage, it was agreed to levy a yearly tax, not exceeding 
one shilling per acre, on all lands benefitted ; of ninepence, after- 
wards altered to eightpence, on half-year or Lammas lands ; and 
of sixpence, afterwards altered to fourpence, on the Commons. The 
sunk tunnels under Kyme Eau and Billinghay Skirth were to be 
taken up and the water restored to the river. Kyme Eau was to be 
connected with the new channel through Wildmore by a short cut and 
all the river and main drains emptying into the YYitham were to be 



GRUNDT-S 



148 

cleaned out, deepened and embanked. The tunnel in the bank of 
Kyme Eau, near Damford Sluice, was to be restricted to the pur- 
pose of letting water into Holland Fen for watering cattle in dry 
seasons, and similar tunnels, not exceeding gin. square, were to be 
allowed through the banks for the same purpose, where judged 
necessary. In order to restore the navigation the Commissioners 
for the City of Lincoln and the town of Boston were to order and 
direcT: whatever works they considered necessary. 

Subsequent meetings were held at Horncastle and Boston, in 
October 1753, when it was finally determined that Messrs. Grundy's 
plan for improving the old river by cutting off the curses should be 
adopted, as this was thought most practicable, in order to reconcile 
the interests of the several parties concerned, and they were instruc- 
ted to make a further report, and " propose a method of executing 
the work in such a manner as may be adequate to the general 
drainage of all those tracts of low lands interested therein." Accord- 
report. i7«i ingly Messrs. Grundy prepared a report, which was submitted to a 
subsequent meeting held at Lincoln, from which it appears that 
the floor of Anthony's Gowt was 4ft. Sin. higher than the 
level of low water in the Haven at Fishtoft and that the sur- 
face of the land in Wildmore Fen and Billinghav Dales 
was 1 ift. higher. The}* therefore advised that the bed of the new 
river should be as deep as the floor of Anthony's Gowt, so that when 
there was 4ft. of water in the river there would be 2ft. 4m. fall from 
the lowest land sinto it. They advised that the • proposed Grand 
Sluice ' should be erected a little above Anthony's Gowt, because at 
that place it would be above all the outfalls of the Wildmore, West and 
Holland Fens, and of Frith Bank, and also because the ground there 
would be more solid than in the old channel near Lodowick's Gote ; 
that the course of the new river should be by a straight cut com- 
mencing a little above Lodowick's Gote to Anthony's Gote, and 
from thence in a nearly straight line across Wildmore Fen, to a place 
in the old river, called Midsands ; there crossing the channel into 
Holland Fen and joining the old river again at Langrick Ferry ; 
thence, after crossing the old channel again, proceeding in a straight 
direction to Coppin Sike, and thence to Chapel Hill. This line was 
selected as cutting off all the worst bends in the old river, equalis- 
ing the land divided, as nearly as practicable, between Wildmore and 
Holland Fen, and as interfering very little with private property, 
the whole length of 10 miles, with the exception of about four fur- 
longs, being through Common land. The first length was to be 56ft. 
wide at the bottom and 70ft. at the top and 7ft. deep, with forelands 
40ft. wide. The estimated cost was as follows : — 

£ s. d. 

For the new Cut ... ... ... 11,605 16 o 

Improving the river above Chapel Hill ... 2,200 o o 



149 

£ s. d. 
Private land taken, estimated at from £\a 

to £10 an acre ... ... ... 236 5 o 

The Grand Sluice ... ... ... 2,100 o o 

Supervising the works and unforseen 

accidents ... ... ... 600 o o 



16,742 1 o 
Scouring out Kyme Eau, Billinghay Skirth, 

Dunsdyke, &c, and putting sluices at 

the end of the first two"' ... ... 4,045 o o 

Navigation Locks and two Stanches ... 1,975 o o 



MEETING AT 
LINCOLN, its]. 



AMENDED 

ITST. 



^22,762 I o 
At a meeting held at Lincoln in November, 1753, which lasted 
three days, it was resolved that an application be made to Parlia- 
ment for an Act giving power to carry out a scheme on the lines 
laid down at the previous meetings ; that the ' Grand Sluice ' for 
stemming the tide, should be placed between Lodowick's Gote and 
Anthony's Gote, but as near the former as practicable ; and that in 
order to secure the drainage no stanches, or other works for 
navigation, should be placed in the river between Lincoln and 
Boston, that would pen up the water within two feet of the surface 
of the land. A subscription was started towards the expense of 
obtaining the Act. A full report of the proceedings and copy of 
Mr. Grundy's report will be found in Padley's Fens and Floods. The 
Act, however, was not applied for at this time. 

Five years later a fresh proposition was made by Messrs. crundt-s 
Grundy, that in place of erecting a new sluice near Anthony's Gowt, scheme, 
as originally proposed, the structure erected by Make Hake in 1500, 
and used as a bridge, should be converted into a sluice by erecTing 
a middle pier of wood in the centre of the large tun, by altering the 
buttresses on each side to adapt them to receive circular doors 
pointing seawards, and by erecting a new stone pier on the west 
side, with a lock 14ft. wide, for the navigation. There would thus 
be four pairs of pointing doors, giving a total waterway of 6^iit- 
The estimated cost of this was .£3,827. 

This scheme was submitted to the Corporation of Boston, and 
on their behalf Mr. Fydell, who was one of the most active promoters 
of the river improvement schemes, wrote to Mr. Banks of Revesby, 
stating that, while the Corporation were desirous of assisting in every 
way in improving the drainage, they were apprehensive that Mr. 
Grundy's plan would not give sufficient accommodation for the 
navigation, and that they had taken the opinion of Mr. Langley L^iey Ed- 
Edwards, an Engineer living at King's Lynn, who advised that he 
did not consider that sufficient water-way for the drainage and 
navigation could be obtained at the bridge, and therefore it would 
be better to erect an entirely new sluice further up the river. 



wards. 



150 



MEETING AT 
SLCAFORO, 1T60 



UKGLET 
EDWARDS REPORT 



In 1760 a further meeting of Landowners, was held at Sleaford, 
and Mr. Fydell was requested to employ Mr. Langley Edwards to 
examine the schemes of Messrs. Grundy for improving the river. 
The report of Mr. Edwards is prefaced by saying that this work 
^""•.'^■"e'." " will be a lasting honour to those who are the promoters of it ; a 
great addition of fortune to those who have the property in the 
lands to be regained ; a great and extensive benefit to trade and 
commerce, by opening a certain inland navigation from Boston to 
Lincoln, and through those towns from the utmost extent of the 
navigation of all those inland rivers which empty themselves into 
the great bay, called the Mctaris Estuarium, to the utmost extent of 
the navigation of all the inland rivers which empty themselves into 
the Humber ; a great addition to the health of all the inhabitants 
of the circumjacent city, towns and villages, by removing the cause 
of those noxious vapours which must arise from stagnant waters, 
and which by the various action of the winds, are wafted into the 
nostrils of those who are seated within the reach thereof." Mr. 
Edwards reported generally in favour of Messrs. Grundy's scheme, 
but advised that the river should be made deeper than they pro- 
posed ; and also that the Grand Sluice instead of being placed near 
Anthony's Gowt, should be erected " near the brick kilns above 
Bardyke Sluice and the river be cut to it, from where the proposed 
new river falls into the old one above Lodowick's Gowt, in such 
direction that it may discharge the water just opposite to, and about 
two furlongs above, Boston Bridge." The floor was to be laid level with 
low water at the Outfall of the river at Fishtoft, or 3ft. iin. below 
the floor of Lodowick's Gowt. The bottom of the river from Lang- 
rick to Anthony's Gowt was to be 40ft. wide, and thence to Boston 
50ft. bottom and 90ft. top. Instead of scouring and embanking 
Dunsdyke and Hareshead drains, he proposed to take out the shallow 
places in the Car Dyke from Hareshead Drain to Billinghay Skirthj 
and raise the low places in the banks, and by this means to intercept 
the water from the high land in the district, and convey it to the 
YVitham. He also considered that by making the river deeper the 
stop doors at the ends of Kyme Eau, the Bane and Billinghay 
Skirth would not be required. 

The estimate was ^"31,221, the amount being greater than 
that of Messrs. Grundy, owing to the increased width and depth 
given to the Channel, and to an increase in the rate of wages since 
their report was made. 

In the following year the whole matter was referred to a joint 

Commission of Engineers, consisting of Mr. John Grundy, Mr. 

iS^ d si«SJ>n. Langley Edwards and Mr. J. Smeaton, who were directed 

'T 61 - jointly to report as to the best scheme to be carried out. 

In this report, after stating the general condition of the river and 

the principles on which any scheme of improvement should be 



i5i 

based, they advised that the new sluice for stemming the tides 
should be erected between Lodowick's Gowt and Boston Bridge 
on a piece of land known as Harrison's Four Acres, the floor to be 
level with low water at Wyberton Roads ; its clear water-way to 
be 50ft. ; to have three pairs of pointing sea doors with draw doors 
on the land side. A new cut was to be made from this sluice to 
Anthony's Gowt, 80ft. wide at the top and 50ft. at the bottom and 
10ft. deep; and another cut thence, through Wildmore Fen to Chapel 
Hill, having 50ft. bottom and 8ft. in depth. The banks, formed with 
the material excavated, to be set back 40ft. from the channel. 

From Chapel Hill the river was to be continued in its then course, 
but to be deepened and widened, where necessary, so as to give a 
40ft. bottom up to three miles above Chapel Hill ; thence up to 
Branston Dyke the bottom to be 30ft. wide, and from thence to 
Stamp End in Lincoln, 24ft. ; one wagon bridge and two horse 
bridges were to be built over the river ; Kyme Eau was to be 
scoured out and embanked from Dampford Sluice to the river ; 
Tattershall Bane from the mouth to Dickinson's Engine ; Billinghay 
Skirth from the Witham to Kyme Causeway Bridge ; Barling's Eau 
to be scoured out up to Barling's Abbey ; the Dunsdyke to the 
Car Dyke to be deepened and embanked, or the Car Dyke to be 
re-instated and the water of Dunsdyke to be turned into it ; also 
Nocton Dyke, Hareshead Drain, Washingborough Beck, up to Carr 
Dike, Tupham Dike, Bardney or Tile House Beck, Southery Eau, 
and Stixwold Beck were to be scoured out ; and a new sluice was 
to be erected at Anthony's Gowt, for the more certain drainage of 
Wildmore and West Fens. The effect of these works, they con- 
sidered, would be to lower the water in the river 4ft. in ordinary 
seasons. For the navigation, a lock was to be erected at the Grand 
Sluice, having two pair of doors landward, and one pair seaward, 
and, in place of stanches as previously proposed, three locks were 
to be constructed between Boston and Lincoln. 

The estimated cost of this scheme was — 

The Grand Sluice 

The New Cut and improvement of the river 
New Sluice at Anthony's Gowt 
Bridges and other works 
Land 

Scouring out and embanking the side drains 
The Locks and navigation works 
General superintendence and unforseen con- 
tingencies 



The inclosed land required to be taken for the work was 
estimated at £"30 an acre ; the commons at /'io an acre ; the earth- 



£ 


s. 


d. 


4,000 








23.465 


J 4 


5 


600 








1,000 








2,088 


15 





3.695 








7.370 








3,000 








45.219 


9 


5 



MEETING 



A SCHEME 
ADOPTED. 



152 

work at five shillings a floor, or fourpence a cubic yard, where it had 
to be moved 40ft., and for less distances, four shillings. This was 
exclusive of barrows and planks. 

At a meeting of landowners, held at Sleaford, in November, 
sleaford. 1T61. 1 76 1 , this report was approved, and the general proposals, or heads, 
of a Bill for carrying out the scheme were agreed to, and a subscrip- 
tion raised to meet the preliminary expenses. The chairman at this, 
and the other meetings which were held, was Lord Vere Bertie ; and i 
the others who seem to have taken the most active part in promoting! 
the improvement of the river and drainage were Mr. John Chaplin, * 
Mr. Richard Fydell, the Rev. Charles Beridge, Mr., afterwards Sir [ 
Joseph, Banks and Lord Manners. Mr. Robert Banks of Sleaford, „ 
was appointed Solicitor to the Bill. 

The principal subscribers to the fund for preliminary expenses 
were, the Merchants and Inhabitants of Boston, by R. Fydell, 
^128 ; The Corporation of Boston, ^"ioo ; Lord Vere Bertie, ^"36 ; 
Lord Fitzwilliam, ^"40 ; The Mayor of Boston, £"30 ; Lady Dash- 
wood, /"21 ; Mr. J. Chaplin, ^56/10 ; Mr. Jos. Banks, ^"23 ; Lord 
Fortescue, £21 : 10 ; Rev. John King, £26 ; Mr. Amcotts, ^21 : 10 ; 
Mr. Hume, £31 : 10 ; Rev. C. Beridge, ^10: 10. 

The obtaining of this Act was opposed by the Owners in Holland 
Fen, by the City of Lincoln and by thetownsof Gainsborough,Rother- 
ham, and Rochdale, on the ground that it would be injurious to the 
navigation by the Fossdyke. Nottingham and Derby petitioned in 
favour of the Bill. 

At last, in the second year of George III, "an Act for 
draining and preserving certain low lands, lying on both sides of the 
2 e °i76i'. "" 32 ' river Witham, in the county of Lincoln, and for restoring and main- 
taining the navigation of the said river from the High-bridge, in the 
city of Lincoln, through the borough of Boston to the sea," was 
passed. The preamble to this Act recites, that the river Witham, 
in the county of Lincoln, was formally navigable for lighters, barges, 
boats, and other vessels from the sea through Boston to the High- 
bridge, in the city of Lincoln ; but by the sand and silt brought in 
by the tide the outfall thereof into the sea had, for many years last, 
past, been greatly hindered and obstructed, and was then in a great 
measure stopped up, lost, and destroyed, and thereby great part of 
the low lands and fens, lying on both sides of the said river (and 
which contain together about one hundred thousand acres), were 
frequently overflowed and rendered useless and unprofitable, to the . 
great loss of the respective owners thereof, the decay of trade and • 
commerce, and the depopulation of the country ; and that in the 
judgment and opinion of experienced Engineers and persons of known 
skill and ability, the navigation of the said river Witham, and the 1 
outfall thereof into the sea, were capable of being restored and 
maintained, and the said low lands and fens of being drained, culti- 



OPPOSITION ^ 
THE SCHEME. 



WITHAM DRAIN 
AGE ACT. 




"gr** 



* L1NCOL1 



? Peter? 



SoulbhamJfeJ* & B °Mfh 



fBraceW 




- r ~~ — ~~ 4H|»fee*|bon „ - • 

tfetwell - ■ -, 

X ^ 

/ hotter Win. 
I " 



I 



Jfrowuleay ofjtittrtcts 



J^-cdZe 



< » * * g_ 



_%3tUes. 



•^*fcti«i?ing-1iam. 
■s-B^anknej! 




•j-Dorriiig-boTt 



*Ru«king-ton 




.EAPrmn 



Fig: 7. 



RIVER WITHAM 
FIRST THIRD 1* FIFTH 
DISTRICTS. 



tB-uckflall 



iKoroixi^b»rv 



-WbodhalL 



Thornton 



(jtixwojuld 



* + Kirkflfcead 




+Conmg , sbj r 
fr.AT21EBjSMAX,Z. 



153 

vated, and improved, but that the same could not be done without 
the authority of Parliament. 

The district now included in the Witham Commission is that 
tract of land lying on either side of the river, extending from 
Lincoln on the north to the town of Boston on the south, stretching 
eastward as far as the higher grounds in Freiston, Butterwick, 
Benington, Leake, Wrangle, and Friskney, and bounded on the 
west by the Car Dyke, the old catchwatei drain of the Romans, which 
separated the high lands from the fens. The East Fen was not 
included in the first Act, but was added in the year 1801. 

For the purposes of the Act the level was divided into six Fig. 7, 

Districts. The First, comprising the fens on the south-west side 
of the Witham, extending from Lincoln to Kyme Eau ; the Second, 
Holland Fen and the adjoining lands, bounded by Kyme Eau on the 
north, the Witham on the east, and south and west by Swineshead 
and Heckington ; the Third, comprising the fens on the north-east 
side of the Witham, stretching from Lincoln to the River Bane at 
Tattershall ; the Fourth, the Wildmore and West and East Fens ; 
the Fifth, fens in Anwick, North Kyme, Ruskington, Dorrington, 
and Digby; the Sixth, fens in South Kyme, Great Hale, Little Hale, 
Heckington, Ewerby, Howell, and Swineshead. 

By this Act, the General Commission consists of 37 Members, 
31 of whom are elected by the several Districts, in the following 
proportions. The First is entitled to send 7 Representatives, the 
Second 6, the Third 5, the Fourth 8, the Fifth 2, and the Sixth 3. 
Each Member elected must qualify for the office by taking a pre- 
scribed oath, and must be in possession of land of the value of ^"ioo 
per annum, or of personal property to the value of /~2,ooo, or be heir 
apparent to landed property of the value of /"200 per annum. The 
remaining six members consist of the Mayors of Boston and Lincoln 
for the time being, and two Commissioners elected by the city of 
Lincoln, and two by the borough of Boston. The Commissioners 
are elected every three years, but, in default of such election taking 
place, the old Commissioners remain in office. An annual meeting 
is held every year on the first Tuesday in July, and may be called at 
either Lincoln, Boston, or Sleaford. 

The several Districts are managed by Commissioners elected by 
the several parishes or places in the district, each sending one 
member. The General Commissioners are elected by the District 
Commissioners. 

For the purpose of raising the funds for carrying out the works, 
the Commissioners were authorised to levy a rate on all lands in the 
First, Second, Third and Fourth Districts, not exceeding one shilling 
an acre on private property ; eightpence for half-year lands ; and four- 
pence on Common land, so long as it remained common, but when 
inclosed, the rate could be raised to a shilling. For the Fifth and 



WORKS CARRIED 
OUT. 



154 

Sixth Districts the rates were not to exceed sixpence, fourpence, and 
twopence respectively. Power was given to inclose part of Hol- 
land, West and Wildmore Fens, and also in other places, and to let 
the land for 21 years — the rents to be applied towards paying the 
taxes. The rates levied were to be paid by the Landlords. 

The works for the improvement of the drainage sanctioned by 
this Adt, and subsequently carried out, consisted of straightening 
the course of the river Witham by making a new cut from Boston 
to Chapel Hill, and cleaning, widening and deepening the river 
from that place to Stamp End, near Lincoln. The fishing weirs and 
other obstructions which had hitherto hindered the full course of the 
waters were removed ; the sides of the river were embanked and the 
water prevented from flowing on the adjacent lands, while its dis- 
charge was effected by the cleansing and deepening of the Kyme 
Eau, Billinghay Skirth, the Bane, and other tributaries and side 
drains. The new cut from Boston to Anthony's Gowt was made 80ft. 
wide at the top, 50ft. at the bottom, and 10ft. deep. The banks 
on each side were set back 40ft. and averaged 10ft. high. The cut 
from Anthony's Gowt to Langrick was to be 68ft. at the top, 50ft. at 
chapman's tne bottom and gft. deep. The cut from Boston to Chapel Hill 
Facts n JZ£ Re ~ according to the Act was to be made in as straight a direction as 
the nature of the ground would admit. The cause of the existing 
bend in the channel is thus explained by Mr. Chapman, " It was 
intended by the Engineer to go in a direct line between those two 
places ; but to oblige one large Proprietor the channel was turned 
from its proper direcTion so as to run by Anthony's Gowt ; and to 
accommodate another, it was made to go off thence, at a sharp 
angle, towards Langrick." 

At the lower end of the cut the Grand Sluice was eredted for 
' stemming the tide,' on a piece of ground called Harrison's Four 
Acres, between Lodowick's Gowt and Boston Bridge ; the floor was 
laid 3ft. lower than the floor of the gowt, and its capacity, or clear 
water-way was to be 50ft., and there were to be three pairs of 
pointing doors to the sea-ward, to shut with the flow of the tides (a 
fourth opening being built by the Navigation Commissioners), 
and also frames, provided with drop, or draw-doors, on the 
land side, to be shut occasionally in order to retain fresh water 
in dry seasons for the use of cattle and the navigation, the 
top of the draw-doors being guaged to such a height as to re- 
tain the water of the river not higher, at ordinary seasons, 
than 2ft. below the medium surface of the lowest lands that drain 
therein. 

A new sluice, of 14ft. water-way, was also made at Anthony's 
Gowt for the discharge of the water from the West and Wildmore 
Fens, having a pair of pointing doors towards the Witham to 
prevent the floods of that river backing on to the Fens. The sluice 



THE GRAND 
SLUICE. 



ANTHONY'S GOWT 



*55 

was connected with the former system of drainage by a new Cut to 
the place where the old Gowt stood. The Commissioners were 
further empowered to build a bridge across the new Cut, or river, at 
a point about half-way between Anthony's Gowt and Boston, for the 
purpose of preserving the communication with the several lands of 
Boston West and Holland Fen. This part of the Act was never 
carried out. 

The new course of the river is shown in Figs, y and 9. Flgs ' 7 and 9- 

As it was considered necessary for the effectual scouring out of OTH „ WORrs , 
the outfall to preserve the living water, and to confine the flood 
water, and also for the effectual drainage of the land, the Com- 
missioners were empowered to carry out the necessary works in 
Kyme Eau to a place called the Clapps at Ewerby Corner ; Tatter- 
shall Bane to Dickinson's engine ; BiUinghay Skirth to Billinghay 
Town and to Kyme Causeway Bridge and the junction of Scopwick 
Beck with North Kyme Fen Dyke ; Dun's Dyke to the Car Dyke ; 
Barlings Eau to the Abbey ; Washingborough Beck to the Car Dyke ; 
Stickswould Beck, Southery Eau, Tupholm Dyke, Bardney Beck, 
Stainfield Beck and Bullington Beck to the adjoining high grounds. 
A cut was to be made from Langrick Gowt to the new river ; and 
the drains leading from Heckington Eau and the drain from the 
Skirth across Holland Fen were to be scoured out. Lodowick's Gowt 
was to be connected with the river by a new cut. All out ring, or 
division dykes, were to be maintained by the Owners or Occupiers of 
the land at a breadth of 9ft. and 5ft. deep. The tunnels sunk under 
Kyme Eau and Billinghay Skirth were to be removed, the Owners of 
the land in North Kyme and Billinghay Dales were to be permitted, if 
they found it necessary for the drainage of their lands, to lay a 
tunnel 2ft. square under Kyme Eau and convey their water to the 
Witham through Langrick Gowt. Dampford tunnel under Kyme 
Eau was to continue. The tunnels, not exceeding gin. square, 
through the south bank of Kyme Eau, in South Kyme near Dam- 
ford Sluice, and also that in Dogdyke, and at How Bridge, for 
conveying the water into Holland and Wildmore Fens respectively, 
and Heckington tunnel were to be continued. The road leading 
from Tattershall Ferry to Billinghay was to pass along the bank on 
the north-west side of the Skirth and to be a public highway, the 
bank being enlarged to a width of 40ft. for that purpose. 

A Navigation Commission was also appointed, separate from 
the Drainage Trust, consisting of the Mayor of Lincoln and four 
other Members elected by the Burgesses, the Mayor of Boston, 
four Members elected by the Corporation, and ten Members elected 
by the General Drainage Commissioners. The function of this body 
was to take steps for the restoration of the navigation ; and for this 
purpose they had the power to erect locks, make cuts, and clean out 
the river as far as the High Bridge in the City of Lincoln, and from 



THE NAVIGATION. 



OPENING OFTHE 

GRAND SLUICE. 

lTGa. 



156 

below the Sincyl Dyke, and to build such bridges, locks, stanches, 
and other works, as they should think necessary, provided that the 
water should not be penned up higher than 2ft. below the natural 
surface of the land. A lock was also to be erected at Boston. To 
enable them to execute these works they were anthorised to take 
tolls (not exceeding is. 6d. per ton) on all boats navigating the 
Witham, and to raise money on the security of the tolls. In 
pursuance of the powers so granted, the Commissioners expended 
/"6,8oo in deepening the river and building the new locks and other 
works, and once more made it navigable for vessels. The first 
navigation lock was erected at Kirkstead, where there was a rise of 
ift. gin. into the next reach, which extended to Barlings, where 
there was a second lock with a rise of 2ft. 3m. ; the last lock was 
at Stamp End, having a ri^e of 3ft. 8in., making the total rise 
7ft. 8in. The top of the river at Stamp End was 17ft. above the sill 
of the Grand Sluice. 

The foundation-stone of the Grand Sluice was laid by Mr. 
Charles Amcotts, on the 26th March, 1764 ; and it was opened by 
the Engineer, Mr. Langley Edwards, on the 15th October, 1766, in 
the presence of a very large concourse of spectators, estimated as 
numbering ten thousand persons, ' amongst whom were many of the 
nobility and gentry from remote parts of the kingdom.' The Sluice 
disappointed the' expectation of many who had come to witness the 
opening ceremony, and one of the visitors relieved himself by 
composing the following verse : — 

Chapman's " Boston, Boston, Boston ! 

maT l lSm Thon hast naught to boast on. 

But a Grand Sluice, and a high steeple; 
A proud, conceited, ignorant people. 
And a coast where souls are lost on." 

The Sluice had three openings of 17ft. 2in. each, and a lock 
15ft. 3m. wide, making the total water-way available in floods 66ft. 
gin. The pen height of the water for navigation purposes was 9ft. 
on the sill. The General Commissioners expended in the erection 
of the sluice and other drainage works the sum of ,£53,650, which 
was raised on mortgage. 

These works, having been successfully carried out as designed 
by the promoters, proved of immediate advantage to the drainage 
of the fens bordering on the Witham, between Lincoln and Chapel- 
hill ; but the East and West Fens still remained in a drowned state. 
The history of their reclamation will be found in the next chapter. 
The waters of Holland Fen and of the districts adjoining were sub- 
sequently provided for by the drainage carried out by the Black 
Sluice Commissioners. 

The erection of a sluice across the river for ' stemming the tides' 
was not generally approved at the time, and the Commissioners were 



i57 



warned that it would probably have an injurious effect on the 
channel below it. 

The views of those who were opposed to the erection of the 
sluice were thus expressed by Mr. Elstob, an Engineer employed on 
the Bedford Level, " And as to the great Sluice lately erected at 
Boston, at the mouth of a fine, and what might otherwise be, a very 
beneficial new river, a little above the Town, for keeping out the 
tide ; I am so far from expecting any advantage from the said Sluice, 
that I am fully of opinion, if it is kept constantly in use, and under 
the same regulations for damming up the water above as at the first, 
that in the course of a few years, the channel instead of being 
improved, will be greatly injured, and the outfall prejudiced thereby. 
And had that expense been saved, and the tides had free admission 
into the said new river, there is great reason to believe that the 
Channel and Outfall would, in a short time, have been improved by the 
weight and force of the returning ebbs ; and the outfall scoured out 
so deep, that vessels of twelve or thirteen feet water, or more, might, 
upon any ordinary tide, come up to the quays and wharfs of the 
Town, much better than they used to do before the late decay of 
the river." 

Within a very few years it became apparent that this warning 
was well founded, and that by obstructing the free passage of the 
tides, a very serious error had been committed. For a short time 
the collecting the waters together and speedily discharging them 
through the remodelled drains into the YVitham, and through the 
new cut into the haven, had a beneficial effect, by scouring out its 
bed and lowering the level of the water throughout the fens ; but 
very soon the effect which invariably follows the stoppage of the 
tidal flow by the erection of weirs or dams of any description across 
a tidal river showed itself. The tidal stream, arrested in its progress 
by the sluice, became quiescent, and the silt and mud brought up and 
held in suspension, so long as the water was in motion, sunk by its 
own gravity directly stagnation took place, and gradually formed a 
deposit on the bed of the haven. Owing to the doors having be- 
come silted up in the summer of 1799, the water could not get away 
when the floods came, and many thousands of acres were covered 
with water, and the damage done was of very great magnitude. 

Previous to the year 1800, in average winter seasons, the water 
never fell below 9ft. 6in. on the sill, and in floods rose considerably 
higher ; while in summer time, there not being back-water sufficient 
to remove the deposit, it accumulated to such a degree as com- 
pletely to close the doors. A few years after the erection of the 
sluice, it appears to have risen to a height of 10ft. on the sill, com- 
pletely stopping all communication between the barges navigating 
the "Witham and the vessels employed in exporting and importing 
coal and other commodities. The drainage also became defective. 



EFFECT OF THE 

GRAND SLUICE ON 

THE RIVER. 



Elstob's 
Bedford Level. 



Report of J. 
Rennie, 1807. 



Chapman's 
Facts and Re- 
marks. 

Rennie'sReport, 
1802. 



158 

ReI1,11 I8oct eport, Mr- Rennie, in a report made to the Corporation of Boston on the 
condition of the river, speaking of the quantity of silt deposited in 
the Channel, says, " Had this river with its subsidiary streams been 
completely embanked through the fens and low lands, so as to have 
confined it to a Channel of dimensions sufficient to contain the water 
in times of flood and no more, it would then have been constrained 
to pass off more rapidly to seaward, and, of course, would have 
ground its Channel deeper, and prevented the great deposition of silt 
which now takes place. ... If the Grand Sluice were entirely 
taken away and the tide suffered to flow up the river, it is evident 
it must move with a greater velocity through the Harbour of Boston 
to fill up the space above ; and providing there is a sufficient quantity 
of fresh water and fall to drive back the tide water, etc. during the 
ebb, it is equally evident the constant action of this great body of 
water passing through the Harbour would grind the Channel deeper." 

Telford's Re- Mr. Telford, reporting in 1823, says, "The defective state of the 
Haven being so apparent, it is superfluous to enter upon any detailed 
description of it. . . . . I am of opinion that the existing defects 
may be traced chiefly to the obstruction created by the Grand Sluice 
in preventing tidal water ■from flowing up further than the Town of 

Chapman's Re- Boston." Mr. Chapman, an Engineer employed by the Proprietors 
of lands draining into the river in the First District, to report as to 
the condition of the river in 1808, after calling attention to the fact 
that the Haven, in dry summers, was sometimes ' barred up with silt 
and sand to the height of ten or twelve feet above the sill of the 
Grand Sluice, ' attributes this to the stoppage of the flow of the tides, 
and quotes the instance of Denver Sluice, which by stopping the 
flow of the tide up the Ouse, damaged Lynn Harbour ; also of the 
Sluice erected on the Rother, which ruined Rye Harbour ; and 
shows by the instance of the River Hull, where the tide flows freely 
for 20 miles, carrying the muddy water of the Humber without 
silting or deterioration, that the apprehensions as to the permanent 
silting of the Witham, if the tides were allowed a free course, were 
groundless. Sir John Rennie subsequently reported that he consid- 
ered that great injury was done to the river ' by the obstruction 

Sir i. Hawk- occasioned by the Grand Sluice in preventing the free flow and reflow 

shaWs Rj^ort, of the tides.' In more recent times, Sir John Hawkshaw, in 
reporting to the Corporation of Boston on the state of the Haven, 
said that one of the most effective means of improving the Channel 
in Boston Harbour would be to remove the Grand Sluice and allow 
the tide to ebb and flow in the upper Witham. The effect of the 
,„ construction of sluices across tidal rivers was fully discussed at a 

Wheeler, . . . J 

0% the Witham, meeting of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1868, after the 
B CJJ. Pr voL n S t " reading of a paper on the River Witham by the Author. 

In 1776 a joint report was made by John Smith and James 
Creassy to the Commissioners on the state of the Witham, and as 



159 

to how far a complete drainage is, or can be, performed by the smith's and 

powers given in the existing Act. They reported that between port. itt 6 . 

Chapel Hill and Lincoln, in winter, the water in the river was seldom 

below the surface of the adjoining lands. The plan proposed to 

remedy this, was to cut two drains, 10ft. wide at bottom, parallel to 

the river, from Chapel Hill to Lincoln, on each side of the river ; 

to scour out the Car Dyke to Billinghay Skirth, under which a 

sunken tunnel was to be placed. The high and low land waters 

were thus to be kept separate above Chapel Hill, and below this the 

river was to be widened in the Clay Reach, so as to be of the same 

width as the parts which had scoured out to a greater width than 

left when originally made. The estimated cost of carrying out this 

scheme was £28,022, exclusive of the land required. 

The low lands lying west of Lincoln, being the general reservoir drainage »t 
of the waters that in floods are brought down by the Witham from 
the upland country, being constantly flooded and the owners finding 
great difficult}' in obtaining an efficient drainage, Mr. J. Smeaton 
was instructed by a meeting of Landowners held at the Reindeer Inn, 
Lincoln, in September, 17S2, to report as to the best way of 
improving the navigation of the Fossdyke and the drainage of these 
low lands. A report had previously been made by Mr. Grundy and Smeaton. 1762. 
Mr. Smeaton to Mr. Ellison on this matter, but " the contrariety of 
opinion among the parties interested prevented the execution of the 
scheme then proposed." At that time there was a fall of 14m. from 
Brayford Mere, the ultimate drainage of all the lands in question, 
through Lincoln to the Witham, at the point where the Sincyl Dyke 
fell into it, and a further fall of 5^in. to Stamp End. The stanch 
at Lincoln Lock below Stamp End had been put higher than the 
natural stanch at Brayford Head and consequently held up the 
water in Brayford Mere higher than it ought to be. To improve 
the drainage they considered that it would therefore be necessary to 
reduce the height of the stanch at Lincoln Lock to the Parliamen- 
tary height, or provide a new outfall for the Sincyl Dyke below the 
stanch, or else to move Lincoln Lock to a point above the present 
outfall of the Sincyl Dyke. This latter plan was the one recom- 
mended by Mr. Smeaton. He also proposed to deepen the Witham Smeaton. 1782. 
up to the new lock ; to scour out and widen the Sincyl Dyke ; to 
dyke and scour out Great Gowts Drain and carry it under the 
Witham by a tunnel 4ft. square, with doors pointing to the Sincyl 
Dyke ; to scour out Sincyl Dyke, from the tail of the Great Gowts 
Drain to its upper mouth at the Witham, and construct a weir, 60ft. 
long, along the bank of the Witham, at the junction, the crest being 
one inch above ordinary summer level in the Witham, so that the 
Sincyl Dyke should only take the flood water ; to scour out the 
Lesser Gowt Drain and fix a weir, 45ft. long, at its junction, the crest 
being i£in. lower than the other weir ; a drain to be carried from 



i6o 



W. Jessop. 1792. 



the tunnel at the head of the Great Gowts Drain to Swan Pool and 
be connected with the lands in Burton and Carlton by an iron pipe, 
2ft. 6in. in diameter, under the Fossdyke ; a navigation lock to be 
fixed at Brayford Mere, with gates pointing towards the Fossdyke 
and a weir for overfall water beyond that required for the naviga- 
tion ; a stanch to be fixed at Brayford Head, the top being 
the same height as the existing natural weir ; a side weir, 100ft. 
long, to be fixed at Torksey, so that the top waters should run into 
the Trent when its level would admit of this being done, the crest 
being 6in. below the gauge bar of Torksey Lock. To prevent 
the Trent waters over-riding those of the Fossdyke, the weir was 
to be on a separate cut, having doors 8ft. wide at the end pointing 
to the Trent. 

Xo action appears to have been taken on this report, as, t en 
years afterwards, Mr. W. Jessop was consulted as to the navigation 
of the Fossdyke and reported on this, and its effect on the drainage, 
to the effect that, from the obstructions at Brayford Head and the 
narrowness of the passage through the bridges and between the 
walls of the river, the flood waters of the Witham were confined to a 
very low discharge to the detriment of the lands west of Lincoln ; 
but that it was an advantage to the lands below in checking the 
quantity of water which went down the river in floods. He advised 
lowering Brayford Head 2ft. and replacing it with a moveable weir, 
and extending the Syncil Dyke to a point below Stamp End Lock. 

About this time (1792-4) Acts were obtained for making navig- 
able communication between the town of Horncastle and the 
Witham, by canalising the river Bane and making a new Cut as far 
as Tattershall ; and also between the Witham and Sleaford, by 
canalising the river Slea. 

At the beginning of the present century Mr. Chapman thus 
described the condition of the Fens in a pamphlet entitled Observa- 
tions on the Improvement of Boston Haven, " Of the last six seasons, 
chapman. 1800. four have been so wet that most of the new enclosed fens bordering 
on the Witham were inundated and the crops either lost or 
materially injured. Many hundred acres of the harvest of 1799 were 
reaped by men in boats. Of the oats fished up in this way some 
sold in Boston market at 25/- per last, when good oats were selling 
at ten pounds." In another pamphlet, written by ' A Holland 
Watchman,' the reaping is described as having been done by 
men standing up to their middle in water and clipping off the ears 
wherever they peeped above the surface. 

In October, 1802, in accordance with instructions of the Witham 
Commissioners, Mr. J. Rennie made an inspection of the river, and 
reported that he found the Grand Sluice completely silted up, there 
being ioft. depth of silt on the sill, or 2ft. 6in. higher than the water 
in the river above the sluice. With 8ft. 6in. of water on the sill of the 



HORNCASTLE 
AND SLEAFORD 
CANALS. 1T92- 



CQNOITION OF 

THE DRAINAGE IN 

1SOO- 



Rennie's Re- 
port, iBoz. 



i6i 

sluice, the depth in the Channel varied from 7ft. up to Chapel Hill 
to 3ft. 6in. at Tattershall, 2ft. 4m. at Kirkstead, and ift. 4m. on the 
Shoals at Bardney. The surface of the water at Lincoln High 
Bridge was 9ft. 5|in. above that at the Grand Sluice, equal to an 
inclination of 3iin. per mile. The clear waterway through Lincoln 
Bridge was only 15ft. 6in. The Witham was stated to be deprived 
of a considerable quantity of its water in summer by the working of 
the lock in the Fossdyke at Torksey, the fall into the Trent being 
generally about 6 feet. In floods, the waterway of the Witham, 
through Lincoln and by the Sincyl dyke, being insufficient to carry 
off the water, a great quantity passed away through Torksey Lock, 
and thus the river was deprived of the benefit of floods in winter and 
of a great part of the water in summer. He recommended that 
the Witham should be embanked, deepened and straightened where 
necessary, and the locks and st anches at Kirkstead and Barlings 
replaced with others of better construction, and in better situations ; 
and a capacious cut should be made, from the Witham above Lincoln 
to the river at Washingborough, to carry off the floods ; that the Till 
should be embanked ; the Foss deepened, widened and scoured out ; 
and reservoirs constructed for supplying the Foss navigation with 
water, or in preference, a steam engine erected for pumping the 
water from the Trent. He considered it a matter for regret, that 
when the works were originally designed, the Navigation Channel 
was not made at one level from Boston to the Trent. For the 
purpose of avoiding the difficulty of getting through the Grand Sluice 
in summer, he proposed to make either a sluice at Anton's Gowt, so 
that barges could navigate the Frith Bank Drain to Maud Foster ; 
or else that a new Cut should be made from above the Grand 
Sluice to Skirbeck Quarter. 

A further report was made by Mr. Rennie in the following year 
and, as objections had been raised to a proposal for making a new 
Cut below the Grand Sluice to Skirbeck Quarter, partly-on account 
of the expense, he proposed that this should terminate at Boston 
Bridge, nearly opposite the church, though owing to the silting up 
of the river this would only give a navigation at spring tides. In 
addition to the recommendations previously made he proposed that 
a straight cut should be made from Dogdyke Ferry to Tattershall 
Bridge ; also a new cut across the bend of the river above Timber- 
land Dyke, a new lock being placed on this bend in place of the one 
at Kirkstead, which was then in a dangerous condition ; also a 
straight cut from Horsley Deeps, across the bend to a little above 
Grub Hill, with a new r lock at the lower end in place of that at Bar- 
lings Eau ; that the lock at Stamp End should be rebuilt, with its sill 
3ft. lower ; and generally to deepen the river where required ; also 
that the principal works recommended in Mr. Smeaton's report on 
the lands bordering on the Foss should be carried out. The 



Kenn ie. 1803. 



1 62 

quantity of water coming down the Witham in summer he found to 
be 593,280 cubic feet, of which about half was used for lockage at 
Torksey ; and that the remainder passed through Stamp End Lock. 
He again recommended supplying Torksey Lock with a six H.P. 
engine to pump the water out of the Trent, the annual cost of which, 
including 10 per cent, interest on outlay (^"160), he estimated at 
^"381. The estimate for the whole work was as follows: 

£ 

The Cut at Boston and Lock ... ... ... 3>500 

Works in the Witham and above Lincoln ... 54,900 



PROPOSED 

IMPROVEMENT OF 

THE RIVER. 



^"58,400 
At a meeting of the General Commissioners, held at the 
Peacock Inn, at Boston, Mr. John Linton in the chair, it was 
resolved " That it appears to this meeting that it is desirable to take 
effectual means for completing the drainage and navigation on a 
dead level with the sill of the Grand Sluice " ; and in 1806 Mr. 

Bower. 1806. Anthony Bower was directed to make an estimate of the cost of 
carrying out this work. This estimate amounted to ^92,736, and 
included the new cut at Dogdyke and Horsley Deeps, and three 
new locks, but was exclusive of land. Mr. Bower pointed out in his 
report that if this were done it would " reflect the highest honour and 
credit on the country by effectually draining the land which, for 
ages, had been subject to be flooded, and totally take away the use 
of the engines.'' 

In April, 1807, at a meeting of the General Commissioners, 
held at Sleaford, the Earl of Buckinghamshire in the chair, a series 
of resolutions was passed, stating that, whereas, by the enclosure of 

Rennie. 1807. t jj e West and Wildmore Fens their funds had been considerably 
increased, they proposed to improve the navigation of the Witham 
by making the river on a level from the Grand Sluice to Lincoln, 
and removing the locks at Kirkstead and Barlings ; and that it was 
desirable that its management should be handed over to a Company, 
if one could be formed for this purpose ; and Mr. J. Rennie was 
directed to examine Mr. Bower's estimate for this work. In his 
report, while generally confirming the estimate, he made additions 
increasing it to £"106,720, exclusive of the cost of any land required. 
He, however, pointed out that, as the lands above Washingborough 
Ferry are at a higher level' than those below, there was ho very mate- 
rial advantage in extending the level to Stamp End Lock, but that 
if a lock were constructed a little below Washingborough Church, 
a saving of ^"16,000 could be effected. He advised that the 
drainage of the low lands west of Lincoln could be accomplished by 
extending a proposed Cut from the Great Gowts Drain to Stamp 
End Lock down to Washingborough Ferry. 

Opposition arising to this scheme by some of the landowners 
along the river, Mr. Rennie was requested to give his opinion on 



1 63 

the best means of supplying the lands adjoining the river with Rennie. 1807. 
water in summer-time, for cattle and fences, so as to be able to 
' satisfy the doubts of those persons who are not yet fully ac- 
quainted with the different benefits that will be derived from the 
execution of the proposed plan.' In his report he points out that 
by the removal of Kirkstead Lock, the water would be lowered in 
that reach ift. gin. ; and by the removal of Barlings Lock, the water 
would be reduced 2ft. 3m., or a total of 4ft. ; and that when this was 
done the land along the former reach would be only 3ft. 6in. above 
the surface of the water in the river, a height not more than 
necessary for drainage, and sufficient to supply the ditches with 
water if they were properly scoured out and deepened. As the land 
above Barling's lock would be about 6ft. above the reduced surface 
of the water, he proposed that the springs at Washingborough should 
be conducted in a delph behind the banks, at a proper height for 
the supply of those lands with water. He further advised that 
the main river and side drains should be properly embanked, so as 
to contain the floods, and anticipated that if the river were deepened 
as proposed, many of the wind engines then in use could be 
dispensed with. With reference to the inconvenience suffered from 
the silting up of the channel, and the consequent stoppage of the flood 
waters at the Grand Sluice, he advised that if ever Boston Haven 
were to be improved it should be done by means of a straight 
channel to the Deeps, or by straightening and deepening the existing 
channel, which, he deemed, would be an essential advantage, both 
to the drainage and navigation. 

Acting on this and the previous report, the Commissioners, in 48 Geo . a;,. Io8i 
the following year, obtained an Act for carrying out these works of l8oS- 

improvement, which recited that the powers granted by the Act of 
1 79 1 were not sufficient to enable the Commissioners to execute all 
the works therein contemplated, and that several of them were then 
uncompleted ; that in consequence much land was liable to injury 
from floods, and the commerce of the country greatly interrupted. 
It will be unnecessary to refer further to this, as the money 
authorised (^"70,000) was never raised, and the Act was repealed 
by a subsequent one. 

Previous to this Act being obtained Mr. 'Chapman was directed CHaPMAN . s 
by the Proprietors of lands in the First District to report to them 
on the probable effect of carrying out Mr. Rennie's scheme for 
the drainage and the water-supply of their lands. He reported that at 
that time it was with difficulty that the water in times of flood was 
prevented from overflowing the banks protecting the lands in 
Blankney, Martin, Timberland and Billinghay Dales ; that, if the 
water from the lands west of Lincoln were to have free admission to 
the Witham, no harm would accrue to the district, if the works 
proposed by Mr. Rennie were carried out, but that in addition the 



REPORT, 1 BOB. 



164 

water- way of the Grand Sluice should be enlarged from 66ft. gin. to 
90ft. He advised that it was necessary for the purposes of Agricul- 
ture that the water in the ditches should be kept at a level of not 
less than ift. gin., or more than 2ft. 6in., below the surface of the 
peat lands, and to insure this and also for providing water for 
cattle, he proposed that the Car Dyke should be scoured out, and 
that the water not required for the locks at Lincoln and Torksey 
should be diverted into it. Considering that it was a great error 
ever to have stopped the free flow of the tides by the erection of the 
Grand Sluice, he proposed that in enlarging it the doors should 
be so arranged that all ordinary tides should be allowed to have a 
free course through it, excluding only high spring tides in times of 
land floods. He further recommended that in order to obtain really 
efficient drainage the outfall from Boston to the sea should be improved. 
It being found impracticable to raise the money necessary for 
rehhie . s carrying out Mr. Rennie's scheme, he was called upon to suggest an 
*" t " l>tD amended plan and made a further report to the Commissioners in 

SCHEME, r r 

■an. which the works enumerated in an Act obtained in 1S12 were 

recommended. 
withai> By this Act the powers vested in the Commissioners of Xaviga- 

havis»tio» act. tj on ^ere transferred to a Company of Proprietors, who were to 
52 iocs. undertake the whole management of the navigation and the works 

pertaining thereto. The tolls were fixed at three shillings per ton 
on all goods conveyed between Lincoln and Boston, or, for shorter 
distances, three halfpence per ton per mile. The duties of the Pro- 
prietors of the navigation, and of the Drainage Commissioners, as to 
maintenance of the different portions of the river and its embankm ents 
were set out, and the following new works, as recommended by Mr. 
Rennie, authorized, viz., the scouring out, widening, deepening, 
and embanking of the AVitham, from the Grand Sluice to the High 
Bridge in Lincoln. The lower end was to be finished to a fifty feet 
bottom, diminishing to 36ft. at Horsley Deeps, to 24ft. at Stamp 
End, and 20ft. between there and the High Bridge. From Horsley 
Deeps a new cut was to be made to the Woadhouses in Fiskerton, 
with a 30ft. bottom. A new lock, Soft, long by i6Jft. wide, was to 
be made at the entrance of the new cut at Horsley Deeps, with a 
rise of 3ft., and another at Stamp End in Lincoln, of the same 
dimensions, with a rise of 4ft., and a stone weir ot the same level as 
the gauge mark at the High Bridge. The sill of the lower lock "was 
to be level with the bed of the river, which was then 6ft. under the 
gauge mark at the Grand Sluice. A weir was to be built above 
Barlings Eau, the crest of which was to be 1 2ft gin. higher than the 
sill of the Grand Sluice. The old locks across the river at Barlings, 
Kirkstead and Stamp End were to be removed ; and, if found 
necessary, the lock at the Grand Sluice was to be enlarged to the 
same size as the other locks. The banks were to have slopes of 3 to 



i6 5 

i on the river side, and 2 to i on the land side. On the south side, 
the hank was to have a 10ft. top and to be puddled in the middle. The 
top was to be gravelled, and bridges put over on the side cuts so as 
to make an efficient towing path. Stop doors were to be fixed at 
the ends of Billinghay Skirth and the Bane. 

In order to provide for the flood waters from the west side of 
Lincoln, a weir twenty-eight feet in width was to be made in the 
east bank of the Witham, at the head of Bargate Drain, the 
top level with that of the weir at Stamp End, with one or more 
sluices in it ; the slacker never to be drawn when the surface of the 
water in the Witham was below the top of the weir, without the 
consent ot the Mayor of Lincoln or the Lessee of the Fossdyke 
Navigation ; the Sincyl dyke^and Bargate Drain were to be scoured 
out and deepened, and a new cut made from the junction of the 
latter with the Witham, along the back of its south bank to Horsley 
Deeps, to join the river below the new lock at Branston ; and a 
delph or soak dyke cut parallel with the north bank of the river from 
Barling's Eau, as far upwards as should be found necessary to take 
the water lying on the north side of the navigation. 

The following works were to be maintained by the Proprietors 
of the navigation, vfc., the lock at the Grand Sluice, and the locks at 
Horsley Deeps and Stamp End ; the weirs at Barlings Eau and 
at Stamp End Lock ; the towing paths, bridges, fences and other 
works pertaining to the navigation ; also the Great Gowt Drain 
and tunnel, and the Little Gowt Drain Weir. The Grand Sluice, 
the channel and banks of the river from the Grand Sluice to Stamp 
End Lock ; the stop doors across the drains, the Sincyl Dyke and 
Bargate Drain, with the weir and sluices at the head of Bargate 
Drain, were to be maintained by the Commissioners of Drainage. The 
wall on the south side of the river, between Stamp End and the High 
Bridge, was to be maintained by the Frontagers. The Navigation 
Company was to scour out the old course of the river from Barlings 
Eau, so as to make it 20ft. wide at the bottom, and 6ft. deep, and to 
embank it with banks of sufficient strength for the passage of the 
waters of Barlings Eau and the side drains. 

To carry out these works, the Company of Proprietors were 
authorized to raise among themselves a sum of £1 20,000 in shares 
of £100, and to borrow, on the mortgage of the tolls and dues, the 
sum of £"60,000. In consideration of the benefit to the drainage by 
the improvement to the river, and an agreement on the part of the 
Navigation Proprietors to advance and apply the sum of £"30,000 
towards the execution of drainage works, the Commissioners were 
to contribute the sum of £"1,400 per annum out of their general fund ; 
and a like sum of £1,400 out of the funds specially provided by this 
Act, to the Company of Proprietors. To enable them to do this, 
they were authorised to collect additional taxes from the First and 



i66 



Rennie 1S13. 



Rennie. 1S16. 



7 Geo. iv, c 2, 
1826. 

10 Geo. iv, 1829. 



REPORT ON THE 

ENLARGEMENT OF 

THE GRAND 

SLUICE. 

Rennie. 1818. 



Third Districts, the lands in which were divided into four districts, 
and rated at eighteen, twelve, six and three pence respectively. 

The Company were authorised to take tolls for goods carried 
from any place within one mile of Lincoln High Bridge, or of the 
Grand Sluice at Boston. The rate was fixed at i£d. per ton per mile, 
with a minimum of eighteenpence and a maximum of three shillings. 
Market boats were to be reckoned as carrying two tons. Skiffs or 
boats carrying less than two tons, and passing through the locks, 
were to pay one shilling, in addition to the toll due on the goods 
carried, or sixpence each if two boats passed through the lock at the 
same time. Boats navigating the Horncastle or Sleaford Canals 
were to remain liable to the toll of ninepence per ton, and to a 
further toll of one-half the amount then paid upon the Witham. 
The navigation tolls were exempted from parochial rates. 

Fears being entertained by the owners that the low lands lying 
between Kirkstead Lock and Chapel Hill would be injured by the 
mode in which the work was being executed, Mr. Rennie was 
directed to report on the matter, and replied to the effect that until 
the passage from the west of Lincoln was opened out no harm 
could accrue from carrying on the works above Kirkstead simultan- 
eously with those below, that the ' mud-barge ' was intended to work 
upwards and that he expected her progress would keep pace with 
the works above. 

In carrying out the works it was found that the amount allowed 
in the original estimate was insufficient. In reporting on the works 
in 1816, Mr. Rennie attributes this to the construction of a new 
lock at Anthony's Gowt ; the fall of Tattershall bridge, which had 
to be rebuilt ; the difficulty in excavating the new channel, part of 
which, below Kirkstead, turned out to be a running sand and part a 
very hard marl. In order to obtain additional funds for carrying on 
the work, application was made to Parliament for power to raise a 
further sum of ,£"60,000 on the security of the tolls. This also proving 
insufficient and further money being required, a third Act was 
obtained empowering the raising of a further sum of ^"70,000, 
making the total amount raised under the powers of the three Acts 
^"310,000. By this Act the Navigation Company undertook the 
maintenance of all works above the junction of the South Drain with 
the old course of the river at Horsley Deeps. A provision was also 
inserted in the Act for regulating the passage of steam boats. 

Power was taken in the Act of 1812 to enlarge the lock of the 
Grand Sluice to the same dimensions as those of the locks at Horsley 
Deeps and Stamp End. In 1818 Mr. Rennie was directed to report as 
to the best means of obtaining more water-way at the Sluice. In his 
report he states that this could be done by decreasing the width of 
the pier between the lock and the adjoining drainage tun, this being 
thicker than the others ; but this, while increasing the navigation 



THE RIVER IN 
1830- 



167 

lock, would only give a partial relief to the drainage. A more 
effective plan would be to convert the navigation arch into a drain- 
age tun, enlarging it to the same -size as the others and constructing 
a new lock for navigation on the east side, but he considered that 
there would be difficulty in keeping the Cut from this open, as the 
river then curved to the west. A more effectual scheme he there- 
fore considered would be to make a new Cut on the west side from 
a short distance above the Grand Sluice to the river below the 
bridge, with a lock on it, near its junction with the river, turning the 
present lock into a drainage tun. None of these recommendations 
were carried out. 

The works authorised under the Acts for improving the naviga- 
tion were not completed until 1829. In making the excavation for 
the Horslev Deeps Lock a canoe was found, Sft. under the surface. 
It had been hollowed out of an oak tree, was 30ft. Sin. long, and 
measured 3ft. in the widest part. Other canoes were also dug up, 
one of which is deposited amongst the collection of antiquities in 
the British Museum. 

The condition of the river when the works were completed was condition op 
as follows. The Grand Sluice had a total water-way, including the 
navigation lock, of 66fft., its sill being 5ft. 6in. above mean low 
water of spring tides in the estuary, or 3- 20ft. below Ordnance datum. 
The Grand Sluice was situated eight miles from the outfall into the 
estuary, the last two miles being through shifting sands, amongst 
which the channel was constantly altering its position. In dry 
seasons, owing to the absence of back water from the stoppage of 
the tides, the doors were frequently blocked up with silt, which 
occasionally accumulated to the depth of 10ft. This accumulation 
had to be moved by the winter floods before a clear passage down 
the Haven could be secured. 

From Boston to Chapel Hill the bottom of the river was 50ft 
wide, at Tattershall Bridge 45ft., at Bardney Lock 36ft. From 
Bardney Lock (Horsley Deeps) to Boston, a distance of twenty 
three and a half miles, the drainage and navigation channels were 
the same ; thence to Lincoln, nine miles, there were two channels, 
the water in the Witham being held up at Bardney Lock and at 
Stamp End Lock for navigation, and communicating with the Foss- 
dyke navigation to the Trent. The sill of Bardney Lock was 3ft. 
loin, above that of the Grand Sluice and to maintain 5ft. of water 
on Bardney Lock sill, 9ft. had to be held up at the Grand Sluice. 
On the south side of the navigation, for the purpose of drainage, a 
new cut, called the South Delph, extended from Horsley Deeps to 
the junction of the Sincyl Dyke at Lincoln. At the head of the 
Sincyl Dyke was fixed a weir and draw-doors, over and through 
which are discharged flood waters from the Witham. The Sincyl 
Dyke also took the water from the sunken tunnel under the 



CONDITION OF 
THE OUTFALL- 



Sin J. RENNIE'S 
REPORT, 1822- 



168 

Witham to the Great Gowt Drain and from the weir on the 
Little Gowt Drain. The watei from the upper Witham, except 
that passing down the Sincyl Dyke, flowed into Brayford Mere and 
passed thence through the High Bridge at Lincoln, to Stamp End 
Lock, the discharge being regulated by the draw-doors and weirs 
at Stamp End. The quantity of water passing into the Sincyl 
Dyke was regulated by gauges. 

The area taxable for the purposes of the General Commissioners 
of Drainage was about 127,800 acres. With some alterations the 
arrangement of the drainage continues the same at the present time. 
Notwithstanding the large amount spent on the upper part of the 
river, owing to the defective condition of the outfall, the drainage 
remained in an imperfect condition. In 1821, a general meeting of 
all parties interested in the drainage and navigation was held, and 
Sir John Rennie, who had succeeded his father as Consulting 
Engineer to the Commissioners, was directed to make a report as 
to the best means of improving the river from the Grand Sluice to 
the sea. The report was addressed to the Corporation of Boston, 
the Commissioners of the River Witham, the Commissioners of the 
Black Sluice Drainage, and all parries interested in the improve- 
ment of the River Witham. He pointed out that owing to the 
works which had been carried out, there was little obstruction to 
the drainage or navigation above Boston, but that " immediately 
on leaving it the channel became so circuitous and disproportionate 
in width, that the effect of the scour by the waters acting in one 
compact and undivided body, was lost, and the river, particularly 
during the time of ebb, not being able to maintain so great a 
channel clear, became dispersed into a variety of minor and insignifi- 
cant channels, which, meandering through the extensive and shifting 
sands by which they were surrounded, with difficulty forced their 
way at last to the sea." As this report, and a subsequent one, and 
that of Mr. Telford, made in 1S23, deal principally with the river 
below the Grand Sluice, the recommendations contained in it will 
be dealt with in the Chapter on the Harbour. One of the recom- 
mendations which affected the river immediately below the Grand 
Sluice, namely, the straightening of that part of the river lying 
between the bridge and the sluice, was carried out by the Harbour 
Commissioners in 1825. 
puupinc To protect their lands from flooding, the Owners had, from time 

to time, embanked them, and erected windmills for lifting the water 
out of the drains into the river, there being no less than 14 wind 
engines in use between Lincoln and Dogdyke. Subsequently steam 
power was used. In order, if possible, to prevent this expenditure, 
Sir John Rennie was again instructed, by the General Commissioners, 
to report as to the best means of improving the outfall and lowering 
the water in the Witham, sufficiently to allow of the drainage of the 



ENGINES. 



i6g 

lowest lands by gravitation ; and, further, as to the effect on the 
general interests of the Trusts of the proposed pumping scheme. 

In two reports, made in the year 1S30, dated respectively the sir J- g R enni e- 
9th of August and the 17th September, he stated that the state of 
drainage in the first district, was very imperfect, and that the chief im- 
pediments to the discharge of the waters arose from two causes ; the 
first, the obstructed state of the outfall of Boston Haven, between the 
Grand Sluice and Hobhole ; and the second, the existence of the Grand 
Sluice and the inadequacy of the interior drains to convey the downfall 
waters into the Witham. With respect to the first, he referred to the 
improvements already carried out by the Corporation of Boston, by 
straightening the river and making the new cut through Burton's 
Marsh, and by the removal of the old wooden bridge with its piers, 
and the erection, in its place, of the present iron structure ; but, he 
thought that the outfall was capable of very considerable further 
improvement, and proposed a scheme, the particulars of which will be 
treated of more full)' in a succeeding chapter ; and he also recom- 
mended the making of a new cut through the Marshes, from the 
Black Sluice to Bell's Reach, at a cost of ^89,313. For a 
removal of the second cause of impediment, from the con- 
fined state of the outlet of the river and the constant holding 
up of the water for the purpose of navigation, he proposed that 
a new sluice should be erected between the Grand Sluice and the Iron 
Bridge ; that from this a new cut should be made, in a direct line, 
to join the North Forty-Foot above Toft Bridge, which was to be 
deepened and cleaned out to the Sleaford navigation, and that from 
there the present line of the Dales Head Dyke should be enlarged and 
deepened as far as Washingborough, the estimated cost being 

^52,873- 

These recommendations were not carried out, but the Com- 
missioners, at a meeting held in 1S32, passed several resolutions 
stating that it was their opinion that the steam engines proposed to 
be erected by the First and Third Districts would prove injurious to 
the banks of the river, and the drainage of the other Districts, and 
therefore they determined to oppose the powers sought to be obtained 
from Parliament by those Districts. The system of drainage by 
pumping was not, however, stopped. The total of the several 
engines now in use, above the Grand Sluice, is over 350 horse 
power. 

In 1846, the loop-line of the Great Northern was constructed, transfer of 
the line between Boston and Lincoln running for the greater part of ^ "*'"!"»" 
the distance along the east bank of the river, leaving it at Horsley !!*'""« t 
Deeps, and thence to Lincoln, running on the north bank of the 7'. *&*6- 
South Delph. At the same time the rights of the navigation were 
leased to the Great Northern Railway Company for 999 years, at a 
rent charge of ^"10,545 a year, equal to five per cent, on the amount 



170 

of the capital, which then stood at ^"208,900 in shares, and £i,<xo 
in debentures, the rest of the money originally raised and expended, 
having been paid off. From the parliamentary return of 1870, 
^24,000 had then been paid off since the Railway Company took 
the navigation. 

The Railway Company, in taking over the navigation, assumed 
the liabilities of the original owners with regard to the banks, and 
these have since proved a source of litigation. 
Li/>Bii.rrr ron From Boston to Bardaey Lock, the east bank, — and above 

river b«»ks. that, both banks — of the river, and the banks of the old course of the 
river by Barlings Eau, have to be maintained by the Railway 
Company, except those in Washingborough and Heighington, their 
liability for these having been released by a payment of ^2,000, 
made in 1857, to the Washingborough Trustees, who, in consider- 
ation of this sum, released the Railway Company from all past and 
future liability in respect of defective banks in this part of the 
river. 

In the spring of 1862, owing to an unusually heavy rainfall, the 
river Witham became flooded above its ordinary height, and on the 
28th March the bank of the South Delph gave way, the water 
pouring through the breach, which was 156ft. long, and inundating 
1,800 acres of land in Branston Fen. An action was brought 
against the Great Northern Railway Company for compensation. 
C Rai^ v 'Sn^-' ^ ne casews^ tried at the following Lincoln Summer Assizes. The 
&***■ Company contended that the act of 1812 authorised the making of 

a delph, but that no mention was made of a bank, and that there- 
fore they were not liable for its maintenance. They further con- 
tended that the flooding was due to the bad condition of the channel 
of the river, which was filled with weeds, and in places silted up, and 
which ought to have been maintained in order bv the Drainage Com- 
missioners. The Plaintiffs contended on the other hand that a delph 
could not be made without a bank ; that the bank was made with the 
material excavated in making the delph, and that it was subsequent- 
ly put in proper order by the Navigation Company. This bank 
had been raised and repaired by the Railway Company in 1S58, and 
an arrangement made with the Branston Drainage Trustees, that 
the expenses should be borne jointly. It was further contended 
by the Plai n tiffs that this work was not properly done, and several 
local experts were called, to prove that wet clay puddle was put in 
the bank instead of its being ' punned ' with dry clay. The Jury 
gave their verdict for the plaintiffs, the damages being agreed to at 

^475- 

A rule ttisi was obtained to set aside this verdicl, on the ground 
that the judge at the trial had not allowed the question to go to the 
Jury as to whether the mischief had not been caused by default of 
the Witham Drainage Commissioners in not providing a proper 



171 

outlet for the waters in the river below Horsley Deeps, which had 
consequently backed up into the South Delph, and so caused the 
flooding. The rule was subsequently discharged by the Court of 
Exchequer, July 6th, 1863, Baron Bramwell remarking, " I desire La R t pJr\7" 
not to have it supposed that I discharge the rule because I am of 
opinion that the Great Northern Railway Company would have 
been liable if the banks were broken through the water being pent 
back upon them improperly by persons below ; but the rule is dis- 
charged upon the ground that we cannot collect from the summing 
up of the learned judge that he took a different view on the 
trial." 

In March, 1889, a breach occurred in the bank of the old 
channel of the Witham, and flooded ' Branston Island ' as that 
portion severed from the rest of the fen by the making of the new 

cut for the river is called, and the land was flooded from 4 to sft. , „ ., 

■ x ■ 1 r- A ■ . ward "■ G - N - 

deep. An action was brought at the Lincoln Summer Assizes in Railway Com- 

1889, against the Railway Company to recover damages, but the 

matter was settled by agreement before coming into Court, a verdict 

being recorded for the Plaintiffs and the Company paying ^"900 

damages besides the costs incurred. 

Continual complaints being made as to the state of the inefficient 

rr- f ■ r • rr CONDITION OF 

banks and of the inefficient condition of the river for carrying off the the drainage. 
floods, Mr. William Lewin, who had been the resident Engineer to 
the Commissioners for a long period, was directed to make a report 
as to the best means of improving the drainage. In his report he 
first deals with the question as affecting the whole of the Fen 
district, and points out that no effectual remedy can be provided 
unless the outfall to the sea be improved, and advises that the new 
cut to Clay Hole, which had been recommended 120 years pre- 
viously, should be carried out without delay. With regard to the 
river above the Grand Sluice he states that it is not in the state it 
ought to be in, the bed of the river being from 2ft. to 5ft. above the 
sill of the Sluice. He recommended that the bottom of the river 
should be made one foot below the sill of the Sluice from Boston to 
Bardney, the sill of the Sluice lowered 4ft. and that of Bardney 
Lock 5ft. ; the Sincyl Dyke widened and deepened. The estimated 
cost of these works was ^"40,003. 

On the 19th of March, 1861, a deputation from the Commission 
waited on Sir John (then Mr.) Hawkshaw, C.E., in London, to 
consult him with reference to the state of the drainage, the immed- 
iate object being the improvement of the condition of the East and 
West Fens, but Mr. Hawkshaw was directed to turn his 
attention to a scheme for the general improvement of all the fens 
under the jurisdiction of the Witham Trust. 

For the general plan of improvement Mr. Hawkshaw re- 
commended the adoption of the old project for forming a new Cut 



LEWIN'S REPORT. 
I860. 



DITTO. 1662. 



1^2 

"»*»»•»• to Clay Hole, as he considered that this would improve the outfall 
of all the great drains which empty themselves into the Witham. ^ 

Failing to obtain the consent of the other Trusts interested in 
the promotion of a general scheme for improving the Outfall, the 
Commissioners had to fall back on such measures as they could 
carry out themselves without the assistance of other Trusts. Sir 
John Hawkshaw was therefore directed ' to examine and report on 
the state of the drainage of the river Witham above the Grand 
Sluice, embracing the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Districts, with a view to any 
improvement that could be effected.' Accordingly, in the autumn 
of 1862, he caused a survey to be made of the river from the Grand 
Sluice to Lincoln. • With the data thus obtained, and from facts 
gathered from other sources, he drew up his report, and laid before 
the Commissioners the works that he considered necessary for put- 
ting the upper part of the river in as efficient a state as possible 
under its present condition in connection with the navigation, the 
existence of the Grand Sluice, and the state of Boston Haven ; 
which, when completed, would enable the Commissioners to lower 
the height of the water in the channel, and so improve the drainage 
of the lands, without hindering the navigation ; and by strengthen- 
ing the banks, remove all cause of apprehension as to their safety. 
The estimated cost of the works was ^"53,000, and the advantage to 
be gained by the drainage, was the lowering of the level of the water 
in the Witham by two feet on an average. He estimated that a very 
considerable saving would be effected in the cost of working the 
pumping engines when the works were completed. If, however, the 
works for improving the Outfall, as recommended in his previous 
report, were carried out, he considered that then the Grand Sluice 
sill could be lowered, and the whole of the engine-power dis- 
pensed with. 

The works were on the same lines as those laid down by Mr. 
Lewin in his report of i860, except that he advised the postpone- 
ment of the lowering of the sill of the Grand Sluice until the Outfall 
below was improved. In concluding his report he drew attention to 
the fact that the highest flood level, which up to that time had been 
14^-ft. above the sill of the Grand Sluice, reached in. some places along 
the river to the top of the banks. 

impRovEMENT 1 The Commissioners hesitated some time before adopting this 

28 and*™' Vict., scheme of interior improvement, but at last, finding that no general 
c. 124. 1865. plan was likely to be successfully carried out, three years afterwards 
they obtained an Act "for the further Improvement of the Drainage 
and Navigation by the River Witham," which received the Royal 
Assent on the 19th of June, 1865. Under the powers of this Act 
the Commissioners were authorised to execute the following works : 
viz., to widen, deepen and scour out the river Witham, from a point 
about six miles above Boston to Horsley Deeps, so that the bottom 



173 

should throughout this length be on a dead level ; also to raise and 
strengthen the banks ; to deepen, scour out and strengthen the 
banks of the Old Witham, Barlings Eau, Billinghay Skirth, and the 
several tributaries in connection with them ; to alter and lower the 
sills of the several sluices of the above streams, and also those of 
the Sleaford and Horncastle navigation, and the sills of the following 
delphs, viz., Timberland, Metheringham, Nocton and Branston. 

The Great Northern Railway Company, as the owners of the 
navigation, were authorised to widen, scour out and deepen the 
channel and strengthen the banks of the South Delph, to lower the sill 
of Anton's Gowt and Horsley Deeps Locks, and re-build the latter, if 
necessary ; and for this purpose they were empowered to raise the 
sum of £"10,000 by the creation of new capital. The General 
Commissioners were authorised to borrow a sum not exceeding 
£"55,000 on mortgage of new taxes, to be levied for the purpose 
of this Act, the extinction of the debt being provided for by the re- 
payment of thirty-five annual instalments. The lands in the First, 
Third, and Fifth Districts were taxed for these special works in four 
classes, as arranged by the Act of 1812, with an additional annual 
payment of three shillings, two shillings and sixpence, two shillings, 
and one shilling per acre respectively. Power was also given to the 
Commissioners to make bye-laws for the regulation of the fishery, 
and other incidental rights and privileges attaching to the river 
and the drainage. 

The works authorised under this Act, so far as they related to 
the drainage, were carried out under the direction of Mr. Edward 
Welsh, C.E., who became the resident Engineer of the Com- 
missioners after the death of Mr. Lewin ; and those connected with 
the navigation, by the Great Northern Railway Company. 

These improvements, when completed, only demonstrated more 
forcibly than ever that works carried out in the upper portion of the 
channel were practically useless, unless provision were made for the 
discharge at the Outfall to the sea. 

In 1869, the water rose so high in the river, after a heavy rain, 
that a bank was broken near Stixwould, and 1,500 acres of land were 
inundated. This was one of the worst floods ever known in the 
Witham, the water rising, at tide time, to a height of 15ft. nin. on 
the sill of the Grand Sluice, and about 40 square miles of low land 
being inundated to a depth varying from one to five feet. The loss 
due to this flood was estimated at £"100,000. All the lower part of 
the City of Lincoln was inundated. The banks of the Fossdyke, 
and also of the South Delph near Heighington, and those at Bardney 
and Branston, gave way. The bank of Billinghay Skirth was also 
broken, and about 3,000 acres flooded, driving the inhabitants from 
their homes. 

The highest previous flood on record was in 1852, when the 



EFFECT OF THE 
DEFECTIVE OUT- 
FALL. 



FLOODS. 18C9. 



m 



DEPOSIT AT THE 
GRAND SLUICE. 



Welsh's Report, 
Dec, 1894. 

MEETING OF 

LANDOWNERS, 

18TT. 



INSTRUCTIONS TO 

ENGINEER. 



water rose in the Witham at Xocton to 17ft., and at Boston to 
144ft. above the Grand Sluice sill, with a rainfall of 4*32 inches 
in the previous month, and i5'32 inches in the previous four 
months. A flood in Novembsr, 1875, which occurred after the 
improvements, rose as high at Bardney, and at Boston one 
foot higher, with a rainfall of 4.90 inches for the month, and 
12*30 inches for the previous four months; and the flood in 
January, 1877, rose nine inches higher at Bardney, and seven- 
teen inches higher at Boston, with the same rainfall for the 
previous month, and two inches less in the previous four months. 
In September, 1880, very heavy floods again occurred. The 
streets of Lincoln were inundated, and a large area of fen land was 
placed under water, which rose, in some fields in the fen, as high as 
the heads of the sheaves of corn which, owing to the wet season, 
were still standing in the fields. In 1882, there were also heavy 
floods ; Barlings Eau bank gave way, and a very large area of land 
in the neighbourhood of Lincoln was under water. In 1883, the 
Witham overflowed its banks above Lincoln and flooded several 
thousand acres, and the bank gave way near Southrey. 

The deposit of silt outside the Grand Sluice, at times when 
there were not sufficient freshets to carry it away, still continued, and 
the doors of the sluice were frequently blocked up. This deposit ac- 
cumulated to the height of 10ft. gin. in 1864 ; gft. 8in. in 1865 ; 11ft. 
iin. in 1868 ; 10ft. 3m. in 1870 ; and 11ft. 4m. in December, 1874. 

Owing to the serious amount of damage done by the constant 
flooding of the land, and to the banks, and no action being taken 
by the General Commissioners, the principal Landowners met 
together and consulted as to the best course to be pursued, and at a 
meeting held in London, in February, 1877, the foil owing instructions 
were given to Sir John Hawkshaw, C.E. 

1 That Sir John Hawkshaw be requested to examine and consider 
fully the whole drainage system of the valley of the Witham 
both above and below Lincoln, and including the water drain- 
age of that city, and to report to this Committee upon the most 
efficient and most economical method of carrying off the waters 
of those districts to the sea without flooding. 

2 That it is desirable that in making this inquiry Sir. J. Hawk- 
shaw should examine into the causes of the late severe floods 
in the different districts in which they occurred. 

3 That Sir J. Hawkshaw should embrace in his consideration the 
internal drainage of the fen lands as well as the drainage of 
the river Witham itself. 

4 That in any proposal for letting the water from above Lincoln 
into the Witham below the city more freely than at present, it 
is essential that the low lands below Lincoln should be 
secured against increased danger of flooding. 



i75 

5 That Sir J. Hawkshaw be requested to consider whether it 
would, or would not, be desirable to provide for carrying off the 
water above Lincoln, and the high land water below, to the 
Witham outfall by a separate channel or channels. 

6 That considering the very heavy taxation of some of the lands 
below Lincoln, it would be a great advantage if a system of 
drainage by gravitation could be adopted, so as to avoid the 
expense of local engines, and the necessity of keeping up delph 
banks capable of resisting the pressure of a large body of water. 

7 That Sir J. Hawkshaw be requested to direct his attention 
to the state of the bed of the river. 

8 That Sir J. Hawkshaw be requested to report whether, in his 
opinion, the navigation of the Witham interferes with the 
efficient drainage of the county, or renders it more costly, and, if 
so, to what extent ; 

9 And whether it is desirable to make any change or improvement 
in the Grand Sluice, at Boston ; 

io And also to report fully upon the outfall of the river. 

ii And generally it is the wish of the Committee that Sir J. 

Hawkshaw's report should be as wide and comprehensive as 

possible, and that he should deal, in it, with the whole question 

referred to him, in all its bearings. 

In his report Sir John Hawkshaw assumed that the maximum 
quantity of water to be provided for, as passing down the Witham 
and through the Grand Sluice, off the whole drainage area of 504,000 
acres was that equivalent to a continuous rainfall, of one quarter of 
an inch, in 24 hours, amounting to 318,000 cubic feet per minute. A 
quarter of an inch of rainfall in 24 hours is the quantity which has 
always been taken by Engineers who have been engaged in these May, 1877. 
fens, as the quantity to be provided for in the low districts ; but, as 
the area draining by the Witham contains a large proportion of 
high land, the strata of which, such as the chalk and oolites, is of 
an absorbent character, this estimate would appear to be too high. 
The free flow of the water from above Lincoln he found restricted 
by the regulations as to Bargate Weir and at Stamp End, also 
by the contracted water-way under the High Bridge and through 
the City ; the water from the western drainage district throttled by 
having to pass through a small culvert under the Witham ; and the 
North and South Catchwater Drains of the West District 
obstructed by the height to which the waters rose during flood time 
in the Fossdyke and the Witham, into which the}- discharge. 

The works recommended and the estimated cost of the same 
were as follows : — 

1. Cutting a new Channel from the Witham near 
Bargate Weir to the South Delph, at a point just 
below the City, the channel having a bottom width of 



HAWKSHAW'S 
SCHEME. 1BTT 



Hawkshaw. 



176 

2oft., and erecting a new Weir and Sluice near Bargate £ 

Weir. Widening the bridge under the High Street, 

and the Railway Bridge ... ... ... ... ... 34,000 

2. Widening and deepening the channel of the 
South Delph, and raising and strengthening the banks 

to a bottom width of 20ft. ... ... ... .. 19,000 

3. Widening and deepening the Witham from 
Horsley Deeps to the Grand Sluice and strengthening 
the banks. The bottom to be lowered 7ft. at the 
Grand Sluice, and rising at the rate of four inches a 
mile, the bottom width to be 108ft. from Boston to 
Chapel Hill and 52ft. at Horsley Deeps, with slopes 

of 2 to 1 ... ... ... ... .. ... ... 197,000 

4. Replacing the Grand Sluice with a new one 
having a width of 110ft., and its sill 7ft. lower than 

the present sill ... ... ... ... ... ... 80,000 

5. Constructing a reservoir of about four acres near 
the new sluice for the purpose of taking 'water in at 
spring tides, and allowing it to flow out again in dry 
weather at low water for the purpose of scouring away 

the sand which accumulated in the Haven ... ... 4,000 

6. Enlarging the water-way of the Witham below 

the Grand Sluice as far as Maud Foster Sluice ... 33,000 

7. Widening and deepening the Witham above 
Lincoln from the head of the new channel to Wel- 

bourn Mill ... ... ... 26,000 

S. Widening and deepening the river Brant to 
near Welboum Ford ... ... ... ... ... 5,400 

9. Mak in g a short drain from the end of the main 
drain of the West District Drainage, and a culvert 
under the Witham near Bargate Weir, and erecting 
a 30 H.P. pumping station for the West District 
Drainage 4,100 

10. Widening and deepening the Car Dyke from 
Washingborough to Billinghay Skirth, for the purpose 
of keeping the upland waters out of the Xocton, 
Metheringham and Timberland Delphs ... ... 32,500 

11. Widening and deepening Billinghay Skirth 

and raising and strengthening the banks ... ... 7,000 

12. Widening and deepening the existing low level 
drains between Washingborough pumping station 
and Chapel Hill and erecting a 300 H.P. pumping 
station there and doing away with the present pump- 
ing stations between Chapel Hill and Washing- 
borough ... 72,200 

13. Enlarging Kyme Eau from the proposed pump- 
ing station to the Witham ... ... ... ... 2000 



The total cost with contingencies (but exclusive of 
parliamentary or engineering expenses) being ■ ■■£& 7,820 



REPORT. 



!/7 

The advantage to be gained were stated to be the reduction of 
the flood level 3ft. in the Witham at Bargate Weir ; 15m. in the 
South Delph ; 2ft. at Horsley Deeps ; and ift. at Chapel Hill. 

For the further improvement of the outfall Sir John Hawk- 
shaw considered the most effectual way would be to carry out the 
new cut from Hobhole to Clay Hole, but that its cost would be too 
large for merely drainage purposes. The more economical plan 
which had been proposed by Mr. Wheeler, the Engineer to the 
Boston Harbour Commissioners, and approved bv them, of dredging 
the existing channel through the Clays and turning the river to Clay 
Hole, although less effectual, would, he considered, be of some 
advantage. 

The prospecT: of obtaining a reduction of only one foot in the 
flood level in the lower part of the river, after an expenditure of 
upwards of half a million of monev, and without securing any 
improvement in the outfall to the sea, did not commend itself to the 
Landowners, and no action was taken on the recommendation 
contained in this report. 

In the following year Mr. J. Evelyn Williams, who had '■ *• wilua» s 
succeeded Mr. Welsh as resident Engineer to the Witham Drainage 
Commissioners, was directed to report to them on the means of 
improving the drainage. Mr. Williams, in his report, stated his 
opinion that in the removal of obstructions to the natural flow of 
water, it is advisable to commence at the lowest point possible, and 
to work upwards. He agreed with the opinion of alhthe Engineers 
who had previously reported, that the most effectual and permanent 
remedy for the defective condition of the outfall for the drainage 
water was the scheme for making a new Cut through the Clays ; 
but that, if the cost of this work should preclude the possibility of 
its being carried out, then much relief might be obtained by carrying 
out the scheme proposed by the Harbour Commisisoners, for training 
and dredging the Channel to Clay Hole. By this plan he considered 
" that the beneficial effect of the scour of the flood and tidal waters 
which was distributed and absorbed in struggling seaward through 
shifting sands, and in opening out fresh and minor channels, would 
be concentrated and utilised in maintaining one deep and fixed out- 
let for the flood waters. Further, the fixing and deepening of the 
outer channel would tend to counteract the deposition of sand in 
the river, in front of the sluices during dry summers, and which is 
now caused bv the tidal water flowing over the shifting sands in the 
Esruarv." He estimated the cost of this work at ^"28,500. Between 
Hobhole and Maud Foster Drains, he proposed that the channel should 
be deepened ; that a straight Cut should be made for the river, from 
Maud Foster to St. John's Road Ferry, and suggested that the loop 
cut off up to the Black Sluice might be converted into a wet dock ; 
or, if that were not found practicable, the deepening and 



i 7 8 

improving the channel along this length and up to the Grand Sluice ; 
the construction of an additional drainage tun at the Grand Sluice, 
on the east side ; and taking off the forelands, and enlarging the 
Witham between Tattershall Bridge and the Grand Sluice. The 
estimated cost, exclusive of the Cut across the bend above Maud 
Foster Sluice, but including the training of the river from Hobhole 
to Clay Hole, he put at ^89,347. 

If these improvements were carried out Mr. Williams 
estimated that they -would effect a depression in the low water 
flood line to the extent of three feet at Hobhole Sluice, two feet 
at the Black Sluice, and two feet six inches at the Grand Sluice. 
He further suggested that if the Grand Sluice were removed 
from its present site to Chapel Hill, an additional sea outlet would 
be obtained from Kyme Eau, with five feet more fall, as it would 
then discharge below the point where the water would require to be 
held up for navigation purposes ; also that the Car Dyke should be 
converted into a catch-water drain, and be connected with Bargate 
Weir, and thus the upland water, both above and below Lincoln, 
could be discharged at a sea sluice across the end of Kyme Eau, 
and below the new Grand Sluice to be erected at Chapel Hill. The 
estimated cost of this scheme, including the enlargement of the river 
and strengthening and heightening the banks below Chapel Hill 
and other incidental works, he estimated at ^"300,000. And if 
to this were added the improvement of the Outfall by the 
new Cut through the Clays, and above Maud Foster, and deepen- 
ing and improving the river. ^"200,000 more, or together about 
^"500,000, exclusive of land and parliamentary and engineering 
expenses. 
with.- ootf.u. i n T87Q Mr. Thomas Garfit, who was then Member for the 

borough, took active steps to bring together the chief representa- 
tives of the different Trusts interested in the improvement of the 
drainage and navigation, and it was chiefly owing to his exertions that 
in August, 1879. a meetinj of representatives from the Witham 
Drainage, the Black Sluice Drainage, and the Boston Harbour 
Commissioners took place at Boston, Mr. Banks Stanhope of 
Revesby being in the chair, to consider the improvement of the 
outfall of the River Witham below the Grand Sluice. At this 
meeting the two schemes for effecting this improvement were 
submitted for consideration and it was resolved to carry out the 
larger plan for cutting through the Clays, which had been recommended 
about 80 years previously. The basis of payment, which had been 
the cause of the failure of all previous attempts to improve the 
outfall, was settled on the principle that the lands paying drainage 
taxes, whether to the Drainage Trusts or to the Court of Sewers, 
should pay a uniform acre tax, the contribution of the Harbour 
Trust being a fixed sum. It was also agreed that the work should be 



SCHEME, 1879. 



179 

carried out by an Outfall Board, consisting of representatives from 
the contributing Trusts. 

With as little delay as possible an Act was obtained giving witham outfall 
power to carry out the works, and the new cut was opened in 1884. 43 and H vict., 
Further details as to this work will be found in Chapter XIV, on c - 153 > l88 °- 
Boston Harbour. 

No continuous heavy downfalls of rain, such as occurred previous 
to this work being done, have happened since, to prove the efficiency 
of the scheme, but the predictions of the Engineers have been more 
than realised and the water lowered at least four feet in floods. The 
low water in the haven has ebbed out to 3ft. below the sill of the 
Grand Sluice when the freshets were not running. Another great 
advantage has accrued in the absence of the blocking up of the 
water-way by the deposit of silt below the Grand Sluice, and in this 
respect the exceedingly dry seasons which have occurred since the 
Cut has been made give a sufficient indication that such deposits 
are not likely to occur again. 

Concurrently with the works carried on for the improvement of t *" THA » 
the Outfall, the \Yitham Commissioners, under the powers of an Act act. 

obtained in 1SS1, enlarged the Grand Sluice and improved the u ITao/iSSi! '' 
channel from the Sluice to Tattei shall ; for which purpose 
they were authorised to raise ^40,000 and to levy additional 
taxes on the First, Third and Fifth Districts, to the amount 
of eighteenpence an acre for payment of the interest on the 
money borrowed for the works, and sixpence an acre for their 
maintenance. The money borrowed has to be paid off by 35 equal 
instalments. By clause 36 of the Act every Commissioner is to be 
allowed ten shillings and sixpence for each attendance at a meeting 
of the General Commissioners, and one guinea for attendance at a 
Committee Meeting. 

The work of altering the Grand Sluice was carried out by Mr. e»l.boe«e«t 

r .„, „ y-, . ' J X OF THe GRAND 

\y. Rio-by, from the plans of Mr. \\ llhams, C.E., and consisted ot sluice. 

replacing the old lock, which had an opening of 15ft., with a new 

one, 30ft. wide, thus giving 15ft. additional water-way. The sill of 

the new lock was laid 3ft. lower than the old sill. The contract 

amount for the work was ^"10,000. At the same time a portion of 

the forelands of the river was removed and the channel improved 

up to Tatter shall. 

At the present time the General Commission for Drainage by wtham drain- 
the River YVitham is composed as follows, viz., 



AGE COM MISSION. 



Representa- 
tives. 



First District, Lincoln to Kyme Eau ... 24,916 7 

Second „ Kyme Eau to Boston ... 19,101 6 

Third „ Lincoln to the Bane 4,621 5 

Fourth ,, East, West and Wildmore 

Fens and the 5,000 acres ... 62,395 S 



i8o 



Acres. Representa- 
tives. 



RECEIPTS AND 
DISBURSEMENTS' 



Fifth „ adjoining Kyme Eau ... 5,176 2 

Sixth „ West of Holland Fen ... 11,584 3 

The Mayors of Lincoln and Boston ... 2 

33 

The Second and Sixth Districts drain through the Black Sluice. 
They pay taxesfor the maintenance of the west bank of the Witham. 
The Fourth District drains into the Haven below the Grand Sluice 
through Maud Foster and Hobhole sluices. 

The taxes leviable under the different Acts obtained for the 
improvement of the river are as follows : 



First District. 

Three parishes and seven dales 
Eight parishes 
Three parishes and two dales 
Fifth District. 

Six parishes 
Third District. 
Fifteen parishes 
One parish 
Two parishes .. . 
Second District 
Sixth District... 

(Except Ewerby, which varies 
from 6d. to 2d.) 
The terminable taxes of 1865 expire in 1900, and those of 1881 
in 1917. 

Besides the taxes here given, the several districts are liable to 
the taxes levied by the Interior Commissioners. 

The Second and Sixth Districts are also liable to the Black 
Sluice taxes. 

The lands in the First, Third and Fifth Districts are liable to the 
Outfall tax levied under the Act of 1SS0, which is not to exceed two 
shillings per acre, including maintenance, and is to cease in 35 years 
(1916), by which time the whole of the borrowed money is to be 
paid off. After that time the maintenance tax mentioned above 
continues, but is not to exceed sixpence per acre. The land in 
the Second and Sixth Districts contribute to the Outfall through 
the Black Sluice. 

The amount raised by taxes on the General Account of the 
Witham Commission is about ^5,758 a year, and for foreland 
rents rfii2, making an income of /5.S70. The payments are, 
Interest on debt at +1 per cent., ^"2,400 ; payment to the 
Great Northern Railway, ,£2,800 ; maintenance of works, 



762 

a. 


Under the Act of 
& 1512 1863 
d. =.. d. 


1SS1 

;,. d. 


Total 
per acre. 

=. d. 


2 


6 


3 





2 





7 


6 


2 


O 


2 


6 


2 


O 


6 


6 


I 


6 


2 





'2 


O 


5 


6 


O 


9 


1 





2 


O 


3 


9 


2 


6 


3 





2 


O 


7 


6 


2 





2 


6 


2 


O 


6 


6 


T 


6 


2 





2 


O 


5 


6 


I 





1 









2 





O 


6 





6 






1 






i8i 

£"500 ; management, ^"600 ; a total of .£"6,300, leaving a yearly 
deficiency of about £430. This deficiency appears to be met out of 
a large balance in the Treasurer's hands, which has been steadily 
diminishing for some years past, and in 1895 was at £3,472. In 
addition, to the above, the interest on the loans and the instalments 
of repayment of principal, incurred for works carried out under the 
Act of 1865, amounting to £"2,870, and under the Act of 1881, 
amounting to ^2,257, are met by special rates, as also that for the 
interest on the loan for the Witham contribution to the Outfall 
works, ^"1,446, and towards the maintenance of the same about ^400 
a year, making a total amount to be provided for of about £"13,278. 



l82 



CHAPTER VI. 



The~ Witham Districts. 



Rg. 7- 



WITHAM PENS. 



OF 



MPROVED VALUE 
THE LAND 

AFTER 1NCLOS- 
URE. 



Agriculture of 

Lincolnshire, 

1847. 



Royal Agricult- 
ural Society 
Journal, 1847. 



BEFORE the works carried out for the improvement of the 
river, in the middle of the last century, the land lying 
along the Witham was an open common on which the inhabi- 
tants of the several parishes which adjoined it had grazing 
rights. In summer, this common fen afforded grazing for cattle and 
sheep, but was subject to be frequently flooded, and in winter, was 
more or less under water, as it was only partially embanked from 
the river. The improvement effected in the drainage by the deep- 
ening and straightening of the channel, and the erection of the 
Grand Sluice, was not sufficient to render these lands fit for 
cultivation, and for this purpose it was necessary that they should 
be embanked, and the water raised from them by mechanical means. 
It was also necessary that the Common rights should be extinguished 
and that the lands should be divided and allotted. For this pur- 
pose special Acts of Parliament were obtained, and, in course of 
time, the whole of the land was brought under cultivation. 

Under the Act of 1762, the management of these Districts was 
provided for by separate Commissions, consisting of members 
elected by the several parishes. These Commissions have charge 
of all the interior works, and the management of the pumping 
engines and drains, and have power to lay rates for their mainten- 
ance. The number of Members elected, and the qualification of the 
Voters will be given under each District. 

Arthur Young, when describing the lands along the Witham, 
stated that " the produce before enclosure was little, the land letting 
for not more than one shilling and sixpence per acre ; now (1799) 
from eleven to seventeen shillings . . . This vast work is effected by 
a moderate embankment and the erection of Windmills for throwing 
out the superfluous water." Mr. Parkinson, one of the Commis- 
sioners, largely employed under the Enclosure Acts, gave the old 
rental value of 43,407 acres of this land at ^5,982, and the improved 
value at ^42,375. When the land was enclosed, part of it was 
sold by auction by the Commissioners to pay the expenses, the 
price fetched being about ^"14 an acre. In 1847 Mr. Clarke put the 
average rental of this land as varying from about 25s. to 40s., the 
greater part letting at 35s. 



1762. 



COMMISSIONERS. 



183 

The First District. — This district is situated on the South Fi s- ?• 
and West side of the Witham, and extends from near Lincoln to 
Kyme Eau. It contains 24,916 acres. It is described in the Act .o»»o*r.. 
of 1762 as containing the Fens and Lowlands in Lincoln, Lincoln * Geo. ih, t. 3*1 
Common, Camvick, Washingborough, Heighington, Branston, 
Potterhanworth, Walton, Dunston, Metheringham, Blankney, 
Linwood, Martin, Timberland, Timberland Thorpe, Walcot, 
Billinghay Dales and Dogdyke. The boundaries are set out as 
follows, viz., from twenty yards below the north end of Sincil Dyke 
in Lincoln to Kyme Eau by the River Witham on the north ; from 
the Little Bargate Bridge in Lincoln to Kyme Eau, by the high 
ground of Lincoln, Canwick and Washingborough, the Car Dyke, 
Thorpe Tilney and North Kyme Fen on the south ; and from the 
Witham to the high grounds of Lincoln Common by a line drawn 
at all places parallel within twenty yards from the east side of 
Sincil Dyke on the west ; and from the River Witham to North 
Kyme Fen by Kyme Eau and South Kyme on the east. 

Eighteen Commissioners are elected, one by each of the several drainage 
parishes and places named. The qualification of an Elector is the 
ownership of land of the yearly value of £5, and farmers at rack 
rents of ^"50, paying drainage rates, are also qualified. The election 
is directed to be held at the parish church, or other usual place where 
public business is transacted, on the first Tuesday in April, once every 
three years. The District Commissioners so elected are to meet on 
the third Tuesday in April, and elect seven Commissioners to 
represent them on the Witham General Drainage Commission. 
If no election of District or General Commissioners is held, the old 
Commissioners remain in office. 

Three parishes and seven dales in this district pay 2/6 an acre, 
permanent tax to the Witham Drainage ; 3/- under the Act of 1865, 
terminable in 1900, and 2/- under the Act of 1881, terminable in 
1917 ; Eight parishes 2/- permanent tax, and 2/6 and 2/- terminable ; 
Three parishes and two dales 1 /6 permanent, and 2/- and 2/- terminable. 

The Dales. — When the first Enclosure Acts were applied for, 
owing to a fear that if the embankments were placed near the 
channel of the river the liability to floods would be increased, the 
space lying between the Dales Head Dyke and the river, about a 
mile in width, was left to form a ' wash,' and this screed called ' the 
Dales ' was overflowed about nine months in the year. Several 
windmills from the newly enclosed lands threw their water into 
this Wash. In the year 1797 an Act was obtained, and this screed, 
containing 2,800 acres, was embanked. John Hudson of West 
Ashby was appointed Commissioner. By this Act the embankment 
was directed to be commenced at the north-east side of Billinghay 
Skirth, and to run parallel to the Witham to the north-east side of 
Blankney parish bank, and was to be 6ft. wide at the top with 40ft, 





THE DALES 




INCLOSURC 


ACT, 




1TOT, 






37 


Geo. iii, 
Fig- 7 


c. 


77. 



1 84 

base ; thence it was to continue along the north-west side of 
Blankney Fen to the then existing bank at the north-east corner of 
Blankney Fen. The side banks of Martin, Timberland Thorpe, 
and Walcot Fens were to be extended to join the bank near the 
Witham. The Blankney engine was to be removed, and be placed 
in Martin Fen. Power was given in the Act to appoint officers, to 
cleanse out the ditches and maintain and repair the banks, and to 
fence, in default of the Owners doing the same. The award was to be 
deposited in the chest in Timberland Church, and to be open for 
inspection on payment of a fee of one shilling. The Trustees were 
to meet every year on the second Tuesday in May, to lay acre rates 
for expenses and salary of officers. Persons convicted of destroying 
works were to be deemed guilty of felony. 
boundary. \Y ashingborough and Heighington Fens. — These Fens have 

an area of 1,800 acres, and are bounded on the north-east by the 
South Delph, on the south-west by the Car Dyke, and on the south- 
east by Branston Delph. 
■-.closure «ct. In 1826 an Act was obtained for enclosing, embanking and 

7 and 8 rij26. lT ' drawing tne fens and low lands in the parish of "Washingborough 
10 Geo. iv, c. 49, and the township of Heighington ; an amending Act being obtained 
l8z8 " two years later. 

The Commission, as appointed by the Act, consists of the 
Lord of the Manor, the Rector and two Members elected by pro- 
prietors of 30 acres, or tenants of 100 acres, in Washingborough, and 
two by those in Heighington. Their duties are to maintain the 
banks, drains and works. No new work can be undertaken without 
the special consent of the Proprietors. No maximum rate of taxa- 
tion is fixed by the Act. 

The average rate levied is about 1/11 per acre. According to 
the last Government Return of Taxation (1892-93) the rates produce 
/"200 a year, rents, &c, ^124, making a total income of ^325. The 
Returns. 1892-3. cost of maintaining works is ^"266, of management, &c. ^68 ; total 
^"344. For the previous year the receipts and expenditure were 
rather less. There is no outstanding loan. 

The engine for draining the fen is of 18 H.P., and situated 
about a mile below the Five-Mile House Station. It discharges into 
the South Delph. 
bai<k The Banks next the Witham are composed principally of peat, 

and are very leaky. During a flood in October, 1880, Heighington 
Bank was broken, and the fen flooded. 
.•.closure act. Nocton, Potterh an worth and Branston. — The common 

5 Geo. iii, c 74, f e n in the parish of Branston was enclosed under an Act obtained 
1765. . , 

in 1765. 

Geo iii 1— * n I 77+ an ^ ct was ODtame d for enclosing the waste land and 

fens in the parish of Potterhanworth, and giving power to erecj 
banks, engines and sluices, 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE, 



PUMPING ENGINE. 



1T89. 



185 

In 1789 an Act was obtained for embanking the enclosed fen 29 Geo. m, c. 32, 
land in the parishes of Nocton, Potterhanworth and Branston, con- 2at , d ' 7 wm iv 
taining 5,850 acres. This Act was subsequently amended. c -96- 

The preamble of the Act states that the fens and lowlands in inclosure «ct. 
these parishes " were frequently overflowed and annoyed with water, 
but if embanked and drained would be considerably improved, to the 
great advantage of all parties interested therein, and to the benefit 
of the public." John Hudson of Kenwick Thorpe, and John 
Parkinson of Asgarby, were appointed Commissioners for carrying 
out the works, and they were authorised to construct a bank from 
the lower bank of the Car Dyke, near the south-west corner of 
Nocton Fen, along the south-east side to the Witham, and then 
running parallel with the Witham, but at a distance of two furlongs 
from it, through the the fens of Nocton, Potterhanworth and 
Branston, and along the north-west of Branston Fen to the Car 
Dyke ; the top of these banks was to be 6ft., and the base 40ft. for 
the side banks, and of those near the Witham 50ft. The Car Dyke 
was to be enlarged and the east bank raised. Delphs were to be 
cut on the outer sides of the banks near Branston and Washing- 
borough, having 20ft. top, 10ft. bottom, and 5ft. in depth. The 
Commissioners were empowered to erect and maintain engines 
and other works necessary for the drainage. A stanch was to be 
put in the lower banks of the Car Dyke for the purpose of preserving 
the water issuing from the beck near Nocton Road for taking the 
same into the fens by means of a tunnel. The Commissioners were 
also authorised to put in tunnels, not exceeding 12m. in width and 
7in. in depth, under the bank from the Witham. For paying for 
the works, power was given to raise /"io.ooo, or by special consent 
of the Proprietors a further sum. To meet the charges, a tax of 
50/- an acre was to be levied on the Owners of the land, and by 
special consent a further tax of 10/-. 

When the works were completed, the duties of the Commis- 
sioners were to cease, and three Trustees were to be appointed to 
take charge of the works, and levy the rates, at a meeting of 
Proprietors of not less than 50 acres, to be held at the Rein Deer 
Inn, Lincoln, after notice given on the church doors. The Commis- 
sioners so selected were to remain in office till death or resignation. 
The annual taxes were not to exceed one shilling an acre, with 
sixpence additional by consent of the Owners. Persons convicted 
of maliciously or wilfully destroying the works were to be guilty of 
felony. The award is dated nth January, 1793. 

Under the powers of the Witham Act of 1812 the South Delph branston 
was cut through this fen, severing a portion, which is now called 
Branston Island. A bank was made on the sides of the south Delph SOUTH ° CU " H 
with the material excavated from it. These banks were maintained 
by the Navigation Proprietors, and subsequently by the Great 



i86 



PUMPING 
MACHINERY. 



HATES AND 
EXPENDITURE. 

Local Taxation 
Ketorns, 1S92-3. 



INCLOSURE ACT. 

29 Geo. iii, c. 69, 
1789. 



Northern Railway. In 1858 the bank on the west side was repaired 
jointly by the Railway Company and the Branston Trustees, being 
puddled in the centre and raised from one to three feet. 

In the spring of 1862 the bank of the South Delph gave way, 
causing a breach 156 feet long, and the fen was flooded. An action 
was brought against the Great Northern Railway Company, as 
Owners of the navigation, and a verdict obtained by the plaintiff. It 
is unncessary to refer further to this as the subject has already been 
dealt with in the Chapter on ' The Witham.' 

Up to about the year 1S32, when the amending Act was ob- 
tained, giving the Commissioners further powers of taxation, a wind 
engine had been employed to work the scoop wheel for lifting the 
water off the fen. This being found inadequate it was deterrnined 
that the wind engine should be replaced by a steam engine. The 
Witham Commissioners applied for an injunction to restrain the use 
of steam, on the ground that a greater quantity of water would be 
thrown into the river, and with greater velocity, to the injury of the 
banks. The application, however, was not granted. 

The pumping engine is 40 H.P. ; the wheel is 3ft. wide, with 
scoops 6ft. long. The area drained by the engine is 5,600 acres. 

In March, 1SS9, a breach occurred in the bank of the 
river Witham, on the east side of Branston Island, and this part of 
the fen was flooded to a depth of from 4ft. to 5ft. The breach was 
repaired by the Great Northern Railway Company. An action was 
brought against them for the damage done, but they consented to a 
verdict before the case came to trial, and the amount of damage was 
settled by arbitration. The banks next the river are composed 
almost entirely of peat. 

In 1883 a new engine was erected for the drainage of Branston 
Island, at a cost of about ^"600, by Messrs. Tuxford and Sons. This 
engine is of 16H.P., and drives a centrifugal pump, 2oin. in 
diameter. The lift is 10ft. The area drained is about 230 acres. 

The average rate laid has been 2s. an acre. 

The income from taxation is about ^"420, and from rents and 
sundries ^53 ; total ^"473. The cost of maintenance of works 
is about 7^360, management, &c, ^114 ; total ^"474. In the 
previous year works cost ^231 more, and the other items were about 
the same. There is not any outstanding loan. 

Dlnston and Metherixgham Fen. — Contains about 3,400 
acres. 

In 1789 an Act was obtained for draining and inclosing the 
inclosed commons, fens and ings in these parishes. Three Com- 
missioners were appointed for carrying out the work ; and it was 
directed that the private roads set out were to be repaired by the 
Owners of the enclosed lands ; three acres were to be set apart for 
obtaining materials for the repairs of the roads ; the herbage of the 



i8 7 

banks was to be let ; and the officers of the Trust were given power 
to cleanse out ditches in case of the owners neglecting to do so. 
The Commissioners were empowered to borrow ,£"7,000 for embank- 
ing. Three Trustees were to be chosen at the end of three years by 
the votes of Proprietors of 50 acres, for supporting the works. The 
Trustees were authorised to lay a rate of is. an acre, and a further 
shilling an acre may be raised by consent of the Owners ; and 10s. 
more in case of accident. 

The engine for draining this fen is situated about two miles drainage 

r . , ° ENGINE. 

from the Witham, by the side of Metheringham Delph, into which 
the water is discharged. It is of 20H-P. and drives a scoop wheel. 
The highest lift is ten feet. The area drained by the engine is 
3,400 acres. The average annual cost of maintenance, including 
coal and wages, is ^"350. 

The bank next the river is composed of peat and sand, which 1<Nls 
allows of a considerable amount of percolation of water in 
floods. 

The amount raised by taxation in 1892-3 was ^"285. Other bates and 
sources produced ^126, total /"411. The maintenance of works Local Taxation 
cost ^367, management, &c, ^172, total ^"539. The items in the Returns . l8 9*-3- 
previous year were about the same. There is not any outstanding 
loan. 

Bi.ankney, Linwood and Martin. — Arthur Young, in his condition of 
Survey of Lincolnshire, made in 1799, speaking of Blankney Fen, 
says, " Mr. Chaplin had 300 acres of fen by the side of the River 
"Witham, which were never let for more than ^ioa year. Now he 
could let it at 11/- or 12/- an acre, probably more. This has been Young's 
effected by a moderate embankment and the erection of a wind- Ae Li^iZhircf 
mill for throwing out the superfluous water. This drainage engine 
cost ^"1,000 erecting. The sails go seventy rounds, and it raises wind engine. 
60 tons of water every minute, when in full work. It raises water 
4ft. Two men are necessary in winter, working night and day, 
at 10/6 each a week, with coals for a fire ; add the expense of 
repairs, grease, and all together will amount to 2 per cent on the 
^"1,000 first cost. It drains 1,900 acres. Two years ago the floods 
over-topped the banks, and it cleared the water out so quickly that 
not a single year was lost.' 

A thousand acres of land in this district were let by auction 
at Horncastle, at the end of the last century before the Inclosurei 
for £10 an. acre. 

In 1787 an Act was passed for inclosing the lowlands and , NCLOSURE ACT . 
common fens in the Hamlet of Martin, and in the Parish of 27 Geo. iii, c 66. 
Blankney, and for draining these lands. 

In 1832 a second Act was obtained for more effectually draining 2and3 wm . iv> 
the lands in Blankney Fen, Blankney Dales, Linwood Fen, c. 94, 1832. 
Linwood Dales and Martin Fen. 



i88 

The district is under the charge of three Commissioners elected 
by the Proprietors, whose duties are to maintain the works, consist- 
ing of the Timberland Delph, North Bank, Metheringham Delph, 
South Bank, Engine Drains, and the Engine. 
drjunace The engine is situated on Martin Delph, about half-a-mile from 

the Witham, and is of 30H.P. 

There is no limit to the amount of taxation. The rate averages 
about 2s. an acre. The amount raised by taxation (1892-3) was 



CNCINC. 



RATES AND 



ExraomiHE. ^"393, special rates paid by owners ^386, from other sources ^"143 ", 

Returns, 1892-3. total ^92 1. The expenses of maintaining the works ^435, interest 

on loan and re-payment of capital, ^395, management, &c, ^156, 

total ; ^"984. The amount of loan then outstanding was ^"2,100, 

which is being gradually paid off at the rate of ^"300 a year. 

■■•closure acts. TiMBERLAND AND TiMBERLAND THORPE FeNS. The Act for 

25 Geo. ui, c: 14- Inclosure of these fens was obtained in 1785, and a further Act for 
2 and 3 Met, c, the more effectual drainage of the fen and dales of Timberland and 
10, 1839. Timberland Thorpe was obtained in 1839. The district is stated in 
the Act to contain 2,500 acres, being bounded by Martin Fen on 
the north, by the Car Dyke on the West, Walcot Fen on the south, 
and the Dales Head Dyke on the east. The Commissioners ap- 
pointed to carry out the embanking and draining were John Hudson 
of Kenwick Thorpe, and John Dyson of Bawtry. They were 
authorised to enclose the low lands with a bank commencing at the 
north-east corner of the Walcot and Billinghay Bank, continuing 
along the east side of the Dales Head Dyke, and thence along the 
north side of the fen to the Car Dyke. The bank was to be 50ft. 
broad at the base, 6ft. at the top and 10ft. high. Power was given 
to construct the necessary drains, engines, bridges, sluices and other 
works. The Commissioners were authorised to let the herbage on 
the banks publicly, for periods not exceeding three years ; the 
officers to have power to cleanse out all ditches, in default of the 
owners doing so when requested. The award when made was to 
be enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace, and to be deposited in a 
chest kept in the parish church at Timberland. A sum not exceed- 
ing ^4,000 was to be borrowed for carrying out the works on the 
security of the rates. Special rates were authorised to be levied for 
paying interest, and for providing for accidents or contingencies. 
Persons destroying works were to be deemed guilty of felony. 

When the work was completed three Trustees were to be 
chosen at a meeting held in the vestry of the church, on a Friday, 
after three weeks notice placed on the church doors, every Owner 
of ten acres of land or more to have a vote. Such Trustees to 
remain in office for three years, and to have charge of all the works 
and power to lev}- taxes. The taxes were to be laid annually at a meet- 
ing to be held on the first Friday in April, at the Blacksmith's 
Arms, or other convenient house. The tax is not to exceed eighteen- 



MACHINERY. 



189 

pence an acre, unless a larger tax, not exceeding two shillings, be 
consented to by the Owners. The Trustees have power to appoint 
and pay a Collector, Clerk, and other Officers. 

This Act contemplated the raising of the water by wind mills, pumping 
as there is a clause forbidding the erection of any buildings near the 
engines. The wind engine was superseded in 1839 by a 30 N.H.P. 
low pressure beam engine, working a scoop wheel 26ft. 6in. in 
diameter. This was replaced in 1881 by a 50 N.H.P. high pressure, 
condensing beam engine, working a centrifugal pump, having a 
vertical fan placed under water, 4ft. in diameter, erected by Messrs. 
Tuxford and Sons. The discharge pipe was 14m. in diameter. The 
engine has a 36m. cylinder, with 6ft. stroke, and is capable of 
working up to 150 I.H.P. The pump makes about 10 revolutions 
to one of the engine. The fly wheel is 24ft. in diameter and weighs 
13 tons. The chimney is 106ft. high. The maximum lift of the 
water, previous to the improvement at the Grand Sluice and the 
Outfall was 14ft. ioin. and the average lift lift. 6in. ; recently the 
average has been reduced to 8ft. 6in. The outlet sill is about 6ft. 
below the level of the lowest land. The engine drains about 2,850 
acres under ordinary circumstances, but in high floods the drainage 
extends over about 7,000 acres. The pump is calculated to lift 120 
tons of water lift, high per minute, when running at 180 revolutions. 

The banks are composed of a mixture of peat and clay, and 
permit of a considerable amount of leakage in floods. 

The average annual cost of working the engine and keeping the 
drains clean, &c, taking the year 1881-3, was 

£ 

For coal ... ... ... ... ... 372 

For wages, cleansing drains, and all other expenses... 262 
Interest on loan ... ... ... ... 170 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE. 



^804 

The annual rate laid has averaged about 4s. 6d. an acre. The 
amount raised by rates in 1893 was ^"597 and from other sources 
^65. For the year 1892-3, the expenses amounted to ^684. The 
amount of the outstanding loan at that date was ^"1,571, which is 
being paid off by annual instalments of ^253. 

Billinghay South District. — The Act for enclosing and incisure act. 
draining this fen was obtained in 1777. The area of the fen was ^ Ge&^u, c 70, 
set out in the Act as 4,526 acres. It is bounded by Timberland Fen 
on the north west ; the Car Dyke and North Kyme Fen on the 
west ; Drury Dyke and Kyme Eau on the south and the Witham 
and Dales Head Dyke on the east. The Commissioners for 
enclosing were Daniel Douglas of Falkingham, William Jepson of 
Lincoln, and John Hudson of Louth. They were directed to set 
out public roads 40ft. wide, which were to be deemed highways. 



igo 

Six acres of land were to be allotted for getting materials for making 
and repairing the roads. The herbage on the roads and on the 
land set apart for the roads was directed to be let by the Surveyor 
of Highways. The Commissioners were directed to embank the 
fen on the side next to Timberland Fen, North Kyme Fen and the 
Dales Head Dyke. They were empowered to divert the drain 
which conveyed the water from ' Tomkins' Engine,' belonging to 
Earl Fitzwilliam, across Billinghay Dales to the Twenty-Foot 
Drain and to carry it to Drury Dyke by a new drain having 6ft. 
bottom and 12ft. top, placing stop doors at the end. Power was 
given to the Officers of the Trust to scour out the dykes if the 
owners should neglect to do so. The Award was to be enrolled and 
lodged in the chest at the parish church at Billinghay. The works 
were to be paid for by an equal acre tax not exceeding forty shillings 
an acre, or ten shillings additional by consent. Power was also given 
to borrow ^6,000 to enable the works to be carried on pending the 
allotting of the land. Persons found destroying works wilfully were 
to be deemed guilty of felony. 

After the Commissioners had completed the works and made 
their award, three Trustees were to be appointed for m ain t ainin g the 
works and collecting the rates, such Trustees to continue in office 
for three'years. The Trustees were to be elected every three years, at 
the vestry of the parish church, on Friday, after three weeks' notice 
given in the parish church, every owner of 50 acres having a vote. 
The Trustees were to meet on the first Tuesday in April in every 
year at the Cross Ktys, Billinghay, or at some other public house in 
the parish, to lay a rate not exceeding one s hilli ng an acre, or, by 
consent of the Owners, eighteen pence. The Trustees were autho- 
rised to appoint a Collector, a Clerk and an Officer for the manage- 
ment of the engine, banks and drains. 

and 4 Vict, t. j n z8±o a second Act was obtained for the more effectual drain- 

go, IOJO- ' 

age of Billinghay Fen, Billinghay Dales and "Walcot Fen, Walcot 
Dales and North Kyme East Fen and Ings. 

After the enclosure, Billinghay Dales was drained by a wind 
engine. This was replaced in 1S41 by a 30 H.P. beam engine 
erected at Chapel Hill. The scoop wheel is 28ft. in diameter and 2ft. 
3m. wide. The engine has a 2ft. 4in. cylinder and 6ft. 6in. stroke, 
steam being supplied at a boiler pressure of 25 lbs. The highest lift 
is 1 ift. The cost of the engine and wheel was ^"3,600. The area 
drained by the engine is about 4,500 acres. 

According to the Government Taxation Return for 1892-3, the 
amount produced by taxation was ^"519 and from other sources £j$, 
making a total of ^597. Maintenance of works cost ^"205, interest 
and repayment of loan ^"196, management £91, total ^"488. 

The amount of loan then outstanding was £843 which was being 
paid off at the rate of £1 50 a year. The rate varies from 2/6 to 4/- in the £. 



BILLINGHAY 

DALES PUMPING 

MACHINERY- 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE. 



igi 



Billinghay North Fen and Walcot Dales, containing 
3,150 acres, are drained by a 25 N.H.P. engine erected in 1864, 
driving a scoop wheel 31ft. in diameter and 2ft. wide, the bottom of 
the wheel being 6ft. below the surface of the ground. The highest 
lift is 13ft. and the average, previous to the outfall improvement, 
was 9ft. The chimney is 90ft high. The cost of the engine and 
wheel was about £2,500. 

The average expenses for the three years, 1881-3, were as 
follows ; — 



BILLINOHAY 

NORTH FEN AND 

WALCOT DALES 

PUMPING 

MACHINERY. 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE. 



Coal 

Wages, cleansing drain and all other expenses 

Interest ... 



£ 

270 
246 
350 



d. 

o 

o 
o 



£866 o o 

In January, 1877, during a high flood in the Witham, the bank 
near to the Skirth gave way and inundated 2,390 acres of land. 
The loss was estimated at £20,000. 

The rate laid annually on Billinghay Fen, Walcot Fen, and 
Walcot Dales, amounts to about 4/6 an acre. From the Government 
Taxation Return for 1892-3, the rate is given as producing £475, 
other receipts £166; total £641. The expenses of maintenance 
were £110, interest and instalment of loan repaid £193, management 
£85, other charges ^39; total £537. The amount of loan out- 
standing was then £844, which was being paid off at the rate 
of £148 a year. 

The Second District. — This district extends on the south 
of the river Witham, from Kyme Eau to Boston, and contains 
19,101 acres. It returns six Commissioners to the Witham 
Drainage Board. It pays taxes amounting to 1/- per acre to the. 
Witham Trust, in return for the benefit received from the embanking 
and improvement of the river. This district, known as Holland 
Fen, forms part of the Black Sluice level, it drains into the 
South Forty Foot, and will therefore be described more fully in 
Chapter VII. 

The Third District. — This district lies on the north side of 
the River Witham, and comprises the low lands bordering on the 
river, from near Lincoln to the Bane, and contains 4,62 1 acres. It 
is described in the Act of 1762 as comprising the low lands in 
Monks, Greetwell, Willingham, Fiskerton, Barlings, Stainfield, 
Bardney, Southrey, Tupholm, Bucknall, Horsington, Stixwould, 
Swinesike, Woodhall, Thornton, Kirkstead, Tattershall Thorpe, 
and Tattershall, and as being bounded as follows, viz., by the high 
lands of the several places named on the north, the River Witham 
on the south, the River Bane on the east, and Lincoln on the west. 
Each of the parishes or places in the district elects one Commis- 
sioner, and the District Commissioners elect five General Commis- 



3REACH OF BANK. 



RATES ANO 
EXPENDITURE. 



BOUNDARY. 



Fig. 10, Chap- 7. 



BOUNDARY. 



Fig 7- 



COMMJSSfONERS- 



DRAINAGE 
LEVELS. 



COMMISSIONERS. 



192 

sioners. The qualification and means of election in each case are 
the same as in the First District. 

The district is divided into the following Drainage Levels, each 
of which has obtained separate Adts of Parliament ; Greetwell ; 
Stainfield, Barlings and Fiskerton ; Bardney, Southrey and Stix- 
would ; and TattershalL 

Greetwell Drainage District. — The Act constituting this 
1861. District was obtained in 186 1. It includes the low lands or fens in 

Cherry Willingham, Barlings and Fiskerton. 

The district is managed by five Commissioners, each of whom 
to be qualified must be Owner, either in his own right or in that of his 
wife, of not less that 20 acres of land rated for the purposes of the 
Act ; or be Occupier of 40 acres so rated. 

An annual meeting is directed by the Act to be held at the 
Saracen's Head, Lincoln, or other convenient place in the city, on the 
5th of July, except when this occurs on Sunday, and then on the 
following day. 

The Commissioners are elected for three years, but are eligible 
for re-election, and continue in office until their successors are 
appointed. Every Owner of land has one vote in the election of 
Commissioners for every 20 acres of land, and each Occupier one 
vote for every 40 acres. 

The Commissioners may purchase land in the District, not ex- 
ceeding 20 acres, and execute and maint ain works, including pumping 
engines and machinery. They have to pay to the Great Northern 
Railway Company ^5 a year for the extra expense incurred in 
maintaining the bank of the Witham, due to the larger volume of 
water which the pumping operations caused to flow into the river. 
The maintenance of the Xorth Delph, extending from near Lincoln 
to Horsley Deeps, a distance of 9 miles, was transferred from the 
Company to the Commissioners. 

The Act provides that all Owners and Occupiers of land in the 
district shall maintain and scour out the ditches adjoining or 
belonging to their land ; or if they neglect to do so, the work is to 
be done by the Commissioners at the expense of the owners or 
occupiers in default. The Commissioners have power to go 
over any land in the district to destroy moles or other 
vermin. 

As soon as the drainage works were completed, the Act 
directed that a Valuer should be appointed to estimate the probable 
improvement in annual value from the works executed, and, if he 
thought it desirable, to divide the District into Levels, and the rates 
levied were to bear such proportion to one another as the Valuer 
should determine. 

The maximum rate which the Commissioners may lay must not 
exceed 7/- an acre. There is a penalty of ten per cent on the 



DITCHES. 



TAXATION 
LEVELS. 



MACHINERY. 



193 

amount of the rate if it be not paid at the proper time. The 
Commissioners have power to borrow ^10,000. 

The land was formerly drained by a wind engine. In 1862 a pump.no 

J J ° m MACHINE? 

pumping station was erected at the junction of the old river with 
the South Delph, near Grubb Hill, consisting of a scoop wheel 31ft. 
in diameter and 2ft. 4m. wide, the scoop having a depth of 5ft. 
This wheel is driven by a horizontal engine of 30 H.P., having a 
22in. cylinder with 3ft. 6in. stroke, the steam being supplied from 
the boiler at a pressure of 6olbs. The engine makes 30 revolutions a 
minute, and the wheel 6J revolutions. The lift in times of flood is 
12ft. and averages g Jft. The coal consumption is about 150 tons a 
year. 

The cost of erecting the wheel and engine was ^"949. 

In 1893 an auxiliary plant was put down by Messrs. Robey & 
Co., consisting of two 2iin. centrifugal pumps driven by a hori- 
zontal engine of 50 E.H.P., and capable of delivering 90 tons a 
minute in floods, or 40 tons from a level about 3ft. lower than that 
reached by the scoop wheel. The cost of this was ^644. 

The area of land drained is about 1,500 acres, and there is also 
a great deal of high land water which finds its way into the district 
drains, there being no catchwater drain. There is also a great deal 
of soakage through the banks of the Witham. 

The rates formerly were 7/- an acre for general purposes, and 
5/- for repayment of money borrowed and interest. This is 
terminable in 1902. The rates now are 5/- and 3/6 respec- 
tively. 

The rate produces ^315, and the expenses of maintenance of 
works ^"141 9s. 6d., engine and scoop wheel £5 8 19s. 5d., manage- 
ment £80 ; total /280 12s. 

There is also an engine at Stainfield of 16 H.P. which is 
situated near Barlings' Lock, and pumps into the old river near 
Short's Ferry. This engine belongs to and is maintained by the 
Proprietors of the land. 

Bardney District. — In 1843 an Act was obtained for drain- drainage kt. 
ing and embanking the low fen land lying in the parishes of Bardney, 6 ^J,^.''' c 
Southrey, Tupholme, Bucknall, Horsington, Stixwould, Edlington 
and Thimbleby, which, it was stated in the preamble of the Act, 
had been for many years past liable to inundation and thereby 
injured and rendered to a great degree unprofitable to the Owners 
and Occupiers. 

The area of land in the different parishes is thus set out in the 

Act. 

Acres. 

Bardney 6 4° 

Southrey 290 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE. 



194 

Acres. 

Tupholme ... ... ... ... ... ... 210 

Bucknall ... 460 

Horsington ... ... 320 

Stixwould ... ... ... ... ... ... 600 

Edlington ... ... .. ... ... ... 70 

Thimbleby ... ... ... ... ... ... 130 



2,720 

The Commissioners for draining the land and afterwards main- 
taining the works were to consist of the Lords and Ladies of the 
several manors of Bardney, Tupholme and Stixwould, or their 
agents appointed in writing. Each Commissioner before acting has 
to make a declaration in the form given in the Act, subject to a 
penalty of ^50 for acting without having done so. It is directed 
that an annual meeting shall be held, at Lincoln, on the first 
Tuesday in July, — altered by the Act of 1856 to June — between the 
hours of 10 and 12 at noon. Two Commissioners form a quorum. 
The Chairman has a casting vote at all meetings. No order given is 
to be revoked, except at a special meeting, of which 14 days' notice 
must be given, stating the business to be done. John Wignall 
Leather of Leeds, was appointed, by the Act, the Engineer to carry 
out the works authorized by the Act. A Treasurer, Clerk, and 
Collector of Taxes were to be appointed, the two former offices being 
separate. Any officer taking any fee or reward on account of any 
thing done by virtue of his office, or in relation to the functions of 
the Commissioners, other than the remuneration allowed by the 
Commissioners, is liable to a penalty of ^50. All owners of land 
subject to taxation are entitled to attend the annual meeting, when a 
statement of accounts, made up to the previous April is to be laid 
before them, and such information and explanation respecting the 
proceedings of the Commissioners in the execution of the Act as shall 
be required. The Statement of Account after being certified and 
signed, is to remain with the Clerk, and be open to inspection, and 
a copy forwarded to the Clerk of the Peace for the parts of Lindsey, 
and thereafter be open to inspection on payment of one shilling. The 
Commissioners were authorised to borrow ^25,000, and to lay the 
taxes necessary to pay the interest on the same and for maintaining 
the works ; also to make bye-laws for regulating the carrying out 
of their business and for the government of their officers. 

The works, which by the Act the Commissioners were authorised 
to carry out, were the construction of one or more mills or engines, 
with all proper steam apparatus, machinery, houses and erections ; 
to enlarge, or divert the existing sluices, banks, bridges or drains, 
and make such new works as may be necessary, and to support and 
maintain the same, and to have full power and control over them* 



195 

It was directed that the occupiers of lands should maintain all drove- 
ways and division dykes and tunnels adjoining their lands, and put 
down, when required, new tunnels under their gateways ; subject 
to a penalty of one shilling foi every rod neglected to be roaded, 
cleansed or repaired, after 21 days' notice given in writing ; and be 
liable to have the work done by the Commissioners at the expense 
of the defaulter. Any person interfering with the tunnels and 
sluices next the river or outfalls, except the authorised officer, is 
liable to a penalty of £10. 

In the event of large floods, or any accident happening to the 
sea doors of the River Witham, or the bursting of any of the banks 
of the river or tributary streams under the control of the General 
Commissioners, after notice in writing served on the officer in charge, 
the engine is to cease working for a period not exceeding 72 hours, 
or for a longer period by order of a Committee consisting of two 
General Commissioners and one Commissioner acting under this Act, 
subject to a penalty of £^0 if the officer continue working the engine 
after notice given. It was also provided that a gauge should be fixed 
near where the engine throws the water into the Witham, and that 
on it should be marked the height of the water in the river at 
which the engine should cease working. The height was fixed 
by Mr. Cubitc, by an award dated 28th June, 1844, at 14ft. 
6in. 

The taxes levied under the Act are to be paid by the Occupiers 
and deducted from their rents. In case of default of payment after 
notice given, the occupier is liable to a penalty of 3/4 in the £, and 
to have the same recovered by distress. The herbage on the banks 
and forelands may be let for 3 years to the best bidder. The Com- 
missioners are authorised to destroy moles and other vermin found 
about the lands, and to cut thistles and weeds on the banks, droves, 
or waste lands. Persons are subject to a penalty of ^"20 for injur- 
ing the works ; of ^"50 for placing tunnels under any of the banks ; 
of £10 for placing nets, grigs or other instrument for catching fish or 
for other purposes across the drains, or in any way obstructing the 
flow of the water. It is also forbidden to make any ditch above 2ft. 
in width or depth, within 40ft. from the centre of any of the banks ; 
or to plant any tree, or place any stack, or erect any building within 
300 yards from any mill or engine used for the drainage ; or to 
make any watering place for cattle in the drains. 

In 1856 an amended A<5t was obtained which related chiefly to I9 V ict, 1856. 
the borrowing powers, it being enacted that these should not 
remain in force longer than 25 years after the passing of the Adt, 
within which period money raised on loan was to be repaid. Power 
was also given to receive money on terminable annuities for a 
period not exceeding 15 years. By the previous A<51 the amount of 
rate was unlimited, but by this Adt the rate to defray the working 



ig6 

penses of the drainage and embankment is not in any one year to 
ceed the amount of 10/- an acre. 

The rates levied have varied from 5/- to 10/- an acre. In 
cent years the lower sum has been found sufficient. 

A rate of 5/- produces ^652. The payments for the year ending 
pril, 1893, were as follows : Labour, &c, on drains and banks 
Ld sluices ^"319, engine driver ^"63, coal ^235, repairs to 
gine £12, management ^125 ; total ^764. There is no out- 
mding loan. 

In January, 1869, during a very high flood in the Witham, the 
.nk of this district broke and inundated 1,500 acres of land, 5ft. 
ep. In February, 1883, there was again a breach in the bank at \ 
mthrey. 

The drainage engine was erected in 1846, at cost of ,£"3,545. 
is a low pressure condensing beam engine of 30 N.H.P., having a 
:in. cylinder and 6ft. stroke. The water is lifted by a scoop wheel 
!ft. in diameter, 2ft. 4m. wide, having 40 scoops, 5ft. 6in. long, 
aking 6 revolutions a minute to 18 of the engine. The average 
t of the water is 4ft. The boiler consumes about 3^ tons of coal 
24 hours, the average annual consumption being about 200 tons, 
tie number of acres of low land paying drainage rates is 2,610, 
it the quantity drained is about double this, as a large area of 
gh land outside the district drains down to the engine. 

Kirkstead. — About 700 acres of land in this parish are 
ained by steam-power. The engine, when not used ' for driving 
e scoop wheel, is employed in driving the machinery of a flour 
ill, which is placed between the engine and the wheel. 

Tattershall. — This district was inclosed and drained under 
e power of an Act passed in 1796, in which the land reclaimed is 
scribed as marsh, meadow and low grounds in Tattershall and 
ittershall Thorpe, abutting on the river Witham, and as being 
pable of improvement by embanking and draining. 

The Award is dated gth November, 1798. 

John Hudson of Ashby Thorpe, George Bourne of Hough and 
imuel Turner of Busslingthorpe, were appointed Commissioners, 
id were empowered to maintain, 'heighten and improve any exist- 
g banks and drains, or make and maintain new ones, and any 
ilverts, bridges, engines, &c, and to set out roads, 40ft. wide, 
otes were not to be put across the roads, nor any trees to be planted 
ithin 50 yards. Four acres were to be allotted for the repair of 
e roads. The Award after enrolment was to be kept by some 
:rson appointed by the Lord of the Manor of Tattershall, and be 
>en to inspection by any person interested, on payment of one 
lilling, and copies to be supplied at the rate of twopence for every 
! words. The Commissioners were to be allowed £2 is. per day 
r their services, including expenses. 



»Mavi| 
♦Hareby 



Mtainppby 

♦E.Krkfc 



\ \ + Revejjby 

\ \ Marelw.ileT'en 



MoudfTte 




FOURTH DISTRICT 
EAST, WEST amd WILDMORE FENS 

and EAST HOLLAND TOWNS: 

TT%e> (Hotbed/ JbtJi&s. 

slurw five/. Jjoundjuvy of the- JDi»tri/ct. 
The/ figures 10- 1 «c. show Hhe/~htiyht uf the. lanei 
above/ wmxh. sejp, TercZ vv ftti. 
Stale. 

j#fr&9 k & 3L J& £, &,MiUa. 



v,$m& 




„ lennmafon/\ 

I ~$^ | £eake 



\ «* "J 




N ♦Wranefe ? ^^^ , ::'»:^; ; /•^ r ^*^:l^:^• , :•^:•^•:•:^•v■/ ' •"•*;*>■:*;•. . / 

<■ t, \- . J > # : ■..••.^■■••.•.•-^,'••■ ■':-Tlat::i\- '.:. ■'■■.&v>' : ;.'-' / / .■;'/■•.■■».•<:■•■,•■■'.'.-■'■ -' 



a* 



V Leverton 
'•At—-- *» 









'Betiningflbx^R. 

t is*-!T- .'.■."' -.:"•-- *•■■'.-. -•■■.-*■*; ;•;>•>* -■ 



;*■■-■ vrv.:. ..--•■.-;> " -o • ' ,?'.:•;•& £■:■■::■:::■ v-s-iy ' ' 










< 




^ifff^^^^Sft^^lfeft^ ^i^"- w "^^-' /V'Y 



DRAINAGE 
ENQINE. 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE. 



197 

In case of any of the Commissioners dying, or refusing to act, 
the Lord of the Manor had power to appoint a successor to one of 
the Commissioners, the majority of the Landowners to one, and the 
Rector of the parish to one ; or, failing such appointment by them, the 
surviving Commissioners were given power to appoint to the 
vacancy. Part of the moor, being of a Mingy,' and very bad quality, 
and not worth the expense of dividing and inclosing, was to remain a 
common pasture, and the Commissioners were to specify the number 
of beasts, horses, sheep, &c, each person should put on, and at 
what seasons of the year. 

The low land was formerly drained by a wind engine and scoop 
wheel. The wind engine has been replaced by a steam engine, 
situated between Kirkstead and Tattershall. It was erected in 1855 
and raises the water from 2,000 to 3,000 acres, besides some high 
land water. It is a low pressure beam engine. The scoop wheel is 
24ft. in diameter, ift. 3^in. wide, and has 36 floats. The estimated 
weight of the wheel, shaft and gearing is 7 tons. 

There is no limit to the amount of the rate which can be laid. 
The annual average is about 4s. an acre. 

The amount given in the Government Taxation Returns, as 
raised by rate in 1892-3 is ^129, cost of maintenance of works ^"73, 
and of management ^"50 ; total ^"123. There is no outstanding 
loan. 

Fourth District. Under the Act of 1762, the Fourth District DCSCR , PT . roN „, 
is described as comprising the low lands in Coningsby, Mareham, T " e Dl f™ CT - 
Hundlehouse, Revesby, Middleham, Moorhouse, Hermitage, New- 1762' 

holme, Westhouse, Langrike, Langworth, Swinecote, Hagnaby, 
Stickney, Wildmore Fen and the West Fen ; and as bounded by ' ' K '' 

the old River Witham and Tattershall Bane on the west ; by the 
high grounds of Coningsby, the grounds of Tumby, the high grounds 
of Mareham and Revesby, the grounds of East Kirkby, and the 
high grounds of Hagnaby on the north ; by the high grounds of 
Stickney and grounds of Sibsey on the east ; by grounds in the 
parish of Skirbeck and Boston East, and the site of the ancient River 
Witham on the south. Each parish or place named was entitled to 
elect a District Commissioner, and these to elect eight Represen- 
tatives on the Witham General Trust. The mode of election and 
the qualification were the same as for the First District. The 
District Commissioners were to be elected on the first Tuesday in 
April, every third year, and to meet at the White Hart in Spilsby, 
to elect the General Commissioners, on the third Tuesday in April, 
every third year. The place of meeting was altered, by the Act of 5oand 5 ivict.,c. 
1887, to the Witham Office, Boston. 104,1887. 

The East Fen and the low lands in Wrangle were added to the «»irio«or T HE 
district by the Act of 1801. In 1818 the low lands in Steeping, =000 acre,. 
Thorpe, Irby, Firsby, Bratoft, Croft and Wainfleet, known as 4I Geo I ^V. c ' I34 



ELECTION OF 
>MMISSIONERS. 



BOUNDARIES- 



198 

58 Geo. in, 1818. ' the 5,ooo Acres,' were added. The number of Commissioners 
remains the same as originally fixed. 

The northern boundary of the district extends in an eastward 
direction from Dogdyke Ferry on the River Witham, along the 
Fig ' 9- Catchwater Drain, past Revesby, to Hagnaby Corner, where the 
West Fen is divided from the East Fen by a narrow strip of high 
land, about half a mile wide and seven miles long, in which are 
situated the villages of Stickford, Stickney and Sibsey. Passing 
round this high land, the boundary continues along the Eastern 
Catchwater, past Toynton and Halton Fen, to Halton Holgate, and 
along the edge of the higher ground, past Great Steeping, Firsby 
and Bratoft. The eastern boundary extends past Croft and the 
west side of Wainfleet, Friskney, Wrangle Low Grounds and Leake 
village, including Leake Common Side, and thence going in an east- 
erly direction, nearly up to Leverton village. On the south the line 
runs westerly past the lugs Bridge, over Hobhole Drain to Hilldyke, 
and along the Cowbridge and Frith Bank Drains to Anton's Gowt on 
the Witham and thence to Langrick Ferry. The west boundary runs 
in an irregular line on the east of the Witham, up to Dogdyke Ferry. 
„„„. The area of this District is given in a report of the Committee 

on the Fourth District, made in July, 1861, as 57,200 acres. In 
Mr. Welsh's paper on the Lade Bank engines, the total watershed 

Jin. Pro. Inst. . . c i -.■ , c % «, , 

c.E.,1865. is given as 02,226 acres, ot which 62,226 acres are taxable and 
35,000 acres are drained by the pumping engines at Lade Bank. 
The total area is divided as follows : 

Acres. 

Wildmoor Fen, high land 

low land 

West Fen, high land ... 
low land 

East Fen , 

Five Thousand Acres ... 

62,418 
The only villages situated within the boundary line are those 
of Little Steeping, Firsby and Thorpe, and these are in the area 
known as 'the 5,000 Acres,' which did not form part of the district till 
1818. With the exception of this newly added part of the district 
nearly the whole of the land was extra-parochial and consisted of a 
vast common, over which the inhabitants of the following surround- 
ing parishes had rights of pasturage, &c, viz., on the East and 
West Fens in the Soke of Bolingbroke : — Sibsey, Stickney, Stick- 
ford, West Keal, East Keal, High and Low Toynton, Halton, 
Steeping, Thorpe, Spilsby, Hundleby, Raithby, Enderby, Lusby, 
Hareby, Asgarby, Miningsby, East Kirkby, Revesby, Hagnaby 
and Bolingbroke ; the Holland Towns, Boston, Skirbeck, 



2.947 
7.7H 


10,661 

16,924 

29,833 
5,000 


5.473 
II.45I 





VILLAGES. 



COMMON RIGHTS, 



DRAINAGE. 



199 

Fishtoft, Freiston, Butterwick, Benington, Leverton and Leake ; 
on Wildmore Fen, Haltham, Roughton, Thimbleby, Horn- 
castle, Ashby, Low Toynton, High Toynton, Mareham-on-the Hill, 
Wood-Enderby, Moorby, Wilksby, Mareham-le-Fen, Coningsby, 
Scrivelsby-cum-Dalderby, Tumby, Revesby, Kirkstead, Fishtoft and 
Frith Bank. 

In summer these fens provided valuable pasturage for the stock condition o 

r l_ r 111*1 r ■ T ' THEFENGBEFOR 

ot the tarmers who had rights of common in them. In winter, hecl.mat.on. 
being lower than all the surrounding ground, and no means of 
drainage being provided, they became covered with water over the 
greater part. 

There were a few scattered inhabitants who lived in huts built 
on the patches of high ground, and who gained a living by attend- 
ing to the cattle sent on in the summer ; by rearing geese ; and by 
fishing and fowling, the fens affording vast supplies of both fish and 
wild fowl. 

From an old parchment plan in the library of Revesby Abbey, anc^nt 
not dated, but probably made during the early part of the 17th 
century, it appears that previous to the construction of the Ad- 
venturers' drains, the drainage of these fens was effected by the 
Goodyke Drain, which received Toynton Beck and Silver Pit Drain, 
on the north ; 'by the Old South Lode and Valentine's Drain on the 
south ; all of which emptied into Wainfleet Haven. Hilldyke drain 
received the water from Hagnaby Beck and from the Sibsey river, 
(now Stone Bridge Drain), also from the Barlode Drain and from 
the Old Mill Drain, which had the same course as the present Mill 
Drain. It emptied into the Witham at New Gote, about a mile 
above Boston. The West and Wildmore Fens were drained by 
the Langworth, now part of the West Fen Catchwater, which 
joined the Witham at Dogdyke Ferry ; by the Langdyke Drain, 
which also emptied into the Witham through Armtree Gote, about 
o.\ miles below Dogdyke ; by Nunham drain and Old Drain, which 
emptied at Anton's Gowt. 

Steeping River is shown as running about i\ miles north of 
Wainfleet, and to have entered the Wash by a separate outfall 
from Wainfleet Haven. From Firsby Clough to White Cross 
Bridge this river was called ' Fendyke ' and ' Lusdyke ' ; thence 
to the sea, (8 miles), ' the Haven.' 

Steeping River rises amongst the Hills at Salmonby, and 
brings the water from Aswarby, Harrington and Partney. Before 
the embankment of the river and the drainage of the fens, seven- 
eights of the water is said to have gone on to the low lands in 
Steeping, Firsby, Thorpe and Croft, and thence into the East Fen. 
These low lands were constantly flooded. 

The system of drainage as above described remained in opera- 
tion till the middle of the 17th century. 



TECPING RIVER. 



200 



COMMISSIONS OF 
GEWERS. 1272 



The earliest known records respecting the drainage of these 
fens are found in the proceedings in a suit in the reign of Edward 
I, concerning the ditches and drains in the neighbourhood of 
Wainfleet, when the Jurors found that the custom was such that 
these should be cleansed every year, and that every inhabitant of 
the towns draining ought to be taxed and assessed according to the 
quantity of his land. 
Dugdaie. 1394. From an Inquisition, taken at Bolingbroke in the reign of 

Richard II, it appears that the Goodike Sewer, which extended 
through the East Fen into the Eas end, ought then to be sixteen 
feet in breadth, betwixt the banks, and in depth eight feet, but that 
it was stopped by a weir, and was not four feet deep. The South 
Lode Sewer, extending from the Eas end, ought to be sixteen feet 
broad, and eight feet deep. Both these sewers were to be cleaned out 
by the Farmers of the fishing. The Sewer called the Lyme, beginning 
at Steeping Mill and extending to the Clow betwixt Steeping and 
Thorpe, was to be repaired by the township of Thorpe; and thence 
to the Eas end, (called the Lusdyke,) the banks to be repaired by 
the towns of All Hallows and St. Mary's, so that the water running 
into the sewers might no way enter the fen. The sewers, from the 
Clows of Thorpe to the Eas End, " ought to be sixteen feet broad and 
eight feet deep, being obstructed by a wear which the farmers of the 
fishing had set up ; and Henry, Earl of Northumberland, of right 
ought to repair the same sewer from the Clowes to Southdyke-hirne, 
by reason that he had the fishing there, as belonging to his manor at 
Thorpe"; and "the Lords of Bullingbroke and Dalby, or their 
farmers, ought to cleanse the said sewer from Southdyke-hirne unto 
the Eas end, because they had the fishing there." A fourth sewer 
called Theviscrick, beginning in the mosses of Friskney and extend- 
ing to the Eas end, where the four streams meet, was also obstructed 
by a weir for fishing, and ought to be repaired by the town of Frisk- 
ney ; and the sewer called Eas end should be 40ft. wide by 14ft. deep 
to the sea, and be repaired by the Soke of Bolingbroke. It 
was also ordered " that a new pair of flood gates should be 
made at the damm, twelve feet wide, according to the direction of 
skilful persons ; and that all the towns within the Wapentake of 
Bolingbroke and Wrangle, Leake, Leverton, Benington, Butterwick, 
Freston and Tofte ought, of right, to repair, maintain, open and shut 
those flood gates on proper ti mes, on their own costs and charges for 
ever, excepting in timber, iron work and also wages of carpenters." 
To prevent further disputes as to the repair and management of these 
flood gates, a certain sum was to be levied yearly, and placed 
in the hands of two men, chosen by the towns in Bolingbroke, 
and two by those in Skirbeck, who were to meet at 
Wainfleet twice a year, to oversee the flood gates and 
sewers. 



201 

Shortly afterwards a presentment was made in a Court of King's 
Bench held at Lincoln, to the effect that the marshes in the East 
and West Fens, and land in Leake, Wrangle, Friskney and Wain- 
fleet were drowned by a great inundation through defects in this flood 
gate at Wainfleet " which also was too narrow, so that the water 
passing that way could not get to sea ; and that the town of Wain- 
fleet ought to repair the flood gates, as anciently they had wont to 
do." It was also dscreed that another flood gate was to be 
added near the old one, 18ft. wide, and that this should be paid for 
by the same places as in the formsr order. Subsequently a further 
presentment was made that the channels of Lusdyke and the Ea 
unto Normandeepe (Boston Deeps) should be repaired by the 
farmers of the fishing. 

In the reign of Henry IV, and subsequently, Commissioners 
were appointed to view and repair the banks and sewers between 
Boston and Friskney, and " in respect of the great and instant 
necessity, were directed to take as many diggers and labourers upon 
competent wages, to be employed as they should think requisite." In 
the reign of Edward IV, a Commission of Sewers, held at Wrangle, 
ordained that the inhabitants of the Soke of Bolingbroke and the Lord 
of Dalby, and the King's farmer of fishing at Wainfleet and all others 
draining thereby should scour and dyke the Haven of Wainfleet 
from the the Ea's End unto the sea, in breadth 22ft. top and 13ft. 
bottom, and 3ft. deep ; and that a sufficient gote or clow should be 
set up at the outer end of the Haven, for stopping the salt water 
from the north part thereof ; and also that an old gote and drain, 
called Symond's Gote, extending in length from the deeps of the 
East Fen unto the Fen Bank, and from there to the sea, should be 
scoured out, and also that one gote should be made at Fen Bank, 
and the other at the out end of the Ea. 

At a Court held at Sibsey Hall, in 1430, it was presented that 
the Abbot of Kirkstead had neglected to repair the banks of the 
Witham near the Grange of Langwarthe, so that the river 
water flowed into the West Fen. At a King's Court, held at Boling- 
broke in 1483, the inhabitants of Boston and Skirbeck were fined a 
mark for neglecting to repair New Gote Sewer in Sibsey. 

In Queen Elizabeth's reign an order was made as to the cleaning 
out of Goodyke, which is described as leading from the Ea's End to 
the fen, and as to a new gote to be set in Wainfleet Haven within 
' ten falls ' of Thorpe and Wainfleet Sea Gote, and a bank to be made 
on the south side of the Haven, from the New Gote, and it was, at 
the same time, decreed that the inhabitants of the seven towns of 
Holland should be at the charge of the same. 

A new gote, likewise, was to be set at the Fendyke Bank to take 
in fresh water, and another gote, called Dale's Gote, and a new creek, 
30ft. wide, were to be made from the New Gote unto the Old Gote. 



202 



ATTEMPT TO 
RAIN THE FENS. 

1632. 

Oldfield's 
Wainfleet. 



Hand Foster, 
156S. 



H CUT TO COW 
BRIDGE. 1569- 

Thompson's 
Boston. 



ME LEVELTOWNS 
NO WAINFLEET 
HAVEN. lose. 



In 1571 an order was made that the Fendyke Bank — extending 
from Wainfleet St. Mary to Deacon's Gap, near Friskney, from 
thence to the Fen Clough, and from thence to Strange-place, a 
distance of three miles — should, together with Simon Gote, be re- 
paired by the Commoners, because ' they got reeds and fish from 
the fens and had bite for their cattle.' 

From records of the Duchy of Lancaster, it appears that about 
1532 an attempt was made to drain the fens. " The Undertakers, by 
the advice of experienced artists in draining, finding that Wainfleet 
Haven was not a proper and fitting sewer for the fens to drain by to 
the sea, enlarged the ancient sewers which led to the river Witham 
and Boston Haven, which drained the same effedrualry." 

One of these drains was a cut from ' Cow Brygge ' to Boston 
Haven, since called Maud Foster, which was made in 1568. There 
is no record as to the origin of the name, Maud Foster. There was 
an owner of property in Boston, called Maud Foster, who is fre- 
quently mentioned in the old records. She died in November, 1581, 
and probably the drain, passing through some land belonging to her, 
took its name from the owner. 

In the records of the Corporation of Boston for 1568 it is stated 
that the new cut to Cow Bridge was made, and it was ordered that 
" the dykinge of the new dreyne to Cow Brygge shall be doon with 
such spede as may be convenientlie ; and for the charge thereof it is 
agrede that the Mayor shalle dispose of the towne's money the sum of 
twentie marks till further orders be taken." In 1569 the ' Surveyors 
of the Highwaies ' were ordered to attend to the completion of the 
' new dreyne.' 

It appears that anew ' Clowe' was made at this time at Hilldyke. 
As in 1592 and 1597, the Surveyors of Highways of the Parish of 
Boston were allowed materials out of the town's store towards re- 
pairing the new Clow, and Hilldyke Drain was cleansed and scoured 
by Boston. About 1588, a decree was obtained in the Duchy Court 
for again improving the outfall by Wainfleet Haven, and an arrange- 
ment was made with the ' level towns ' of Croft, Bratoft, Irby, &c, 
for carrying out and maintaining the works. 

Although there is no record of the fact, Black Dyke was probably 
made at this period for carrying off the overflow from the south-east 
corner of the pits in the East Fen. It passed through Friskney and 
emptied by Black Gote in the Roman Bank, into a creek on the fore- 
shore. This gote is first shown on the map of 166 1. 

The arrangement made with the parishes lying on the north of 
the East Fen did not answer the expectations of the promoters of the 
scheme, as, four years later, in 1592, a bill was exhibited by certain 
petitioners in the Court of Exchequer, praying to be released from 
their coalition with the ' level towns,' the reasons assigned being as 
follows. " It was soon found by experience, after building the said 



203 

Gowt or Clow in Wainfleet Haven and dyking the said eau or wa^fltii. 
haven, and the said drains called Goodyke, Southdyke alias South 
Stream, the said run into the sea was not beneficial for the town- 
ships in the said soke, as was at first thought the same would have 
been, nor was the piscary any way bettered thereby. Therefore it 
was about two years after making the aforesaid decree by a view of 
the Commissioners of Sewers for the said county, together with 
experienced engineers and workmen, as also by Inquisition of Sewers, 
found and declared, and a Decree of Sewers thereupon made, declar- 
ing that the said eau or haven was not the most proper drain of the 
said Fens, nor of the towns of the Soke of Bolingbroke, saving only 
for divers grounds lying in Little Steeping and part of Thorpe, and 
of the Wold towns descending by Lusdyke, and of grounds drained 
by Thieves' Creek, which perhaps may have some, although but 
very little, advantage thereby ; and that by trying the bottom of the 
said fens it was found that the same was four feet deep in water, 
when the water in the said haven or at the outfall was but two 
feet deep ; and also that the revenues of the said piscary are and 
were much impaired and the towns of Bolingbroke Soke not a whit 
bettered, so that the farmers in the said Soke had other ancient 
drains, sewers and outfalls to run and issue their East Fen waters 
into the sea, namely into the river Witham, to which the said fen 
waters have a natural run and descent, and a clear contrary course 
to Wainfleet Haven." 

In Queen Elizabeth's reign some idea was entertained of making eo»omoN 
an attempt for the recover}' of the East Fen, and a survey was made 
by order of the Queen, from which it was estimated to contain 5,000 
acres, or thereabouts ; and it was considered that half of this, being 
the skirts, hills and outrings, could conveniently be drained ; but 
the other half, consisting of deep holes and pits, could not be 
recovered. Beyond the survey nothing further seems to have been 
attempted. Camden, who wrote his history in 1602, thus describes 
the condition of the fens. " The fen called the West Fen is the 
place where the ruffs and reeves resort in greatest numbers, and 
many other sorts of water fowl, which do not require the shelter of 
reeds and rushes, migrate hither to breed, for this fen is bare, having 
been imperfectly drained by narrow canals which intersect it for 
many miles. Twenty parishes in the Soke of Bolingbroke have 
right of common on it, but an enclosure is now in agitation. The 
East Fen is quite in a state of nature, and exhibits a specimen of 
what the country was before the introduction of draining. It is a 
vast tract of morass, intermixed with numbers of lakes, from half a 
mile to two or three miles in circuit, communicating with each other 
by narrow reedy straits. They are very shallow, none above four 
or five feet deep, but abound with pike, perch, ruffs, bream, tench, 
dace, eels, &c. The reeds which cover the fens are cut annually 



THE FEN tN 1S02. 



Camden. 



Draining. 

ADVENTURERS' 
ATTEMPTS TC 
1ECLAIM. 1603, 



£64 

for thatching not only cottages, but many very good houses. The 
multitudes of stares that roost in these weeds in winter break down 
many by perching on them. A stock of reeds well harvested and 
stacked is worth two or three hundred pounds. The birds which 
inhabit the different fens are very numerous. Besides the common 
wild duck ; wild geese, garganies, pochards, shovellers, and teals 
breed here, pewit, gulls, and black terns abound : a few of the great 
terns or tickets are seen among them. The great crested grebes, 
called gaunts, are found in the East Fen. The lesser crested, the 
black and dusky, and the little grebe, cootes, water hens and spotted 
water-hens, water-rails, ruffs, red-shanks, lapwings or wypes, red- 
breasted godwits and whimbrels are inhabitants of these fens. The 
godwits breed near Washingborough, three miles east of Lincoln ; 
the whimbrels only appear for a fortnight in May and then quit the 
country." 
mbanbing and The positions of these lakes or pools is shown on the map. (Fig 8.) 

In the next reign, in 1603, shortly after the accession of James I 
to the throne, a series of destructive floods burst the embankments 
of the fens on the East coast, and swept over farms, homesteads, 
and villages, drowning large numbers of people and cattle. The 
King, on being informed of the great calamity which had befallen 
the inhabitants of the fens, principally through the decay of the old 
works of drainage and embankment, declared that, for the honour of 
his kingdom, he would not any longer suffer these countries to be 
abandoned to the will of the waters, nor to let them lie waste and 
unprofitable ; and that if no one else would undertake their drainage, 
he himself would become the ' Undertaker.' A measure of taxation 
for the recovery of these lands, which was accordingly proposed to 
the Commons, was, however, rejected, and the King, restricted in 
his means, confined his attention to works on the Great Level in 
the counties of Cambridge and Norfolk. 

In the reign of Charles I, (1631), a Court of Sewers was held at 
Boston, the Commissioners being Robert, Earl of Lindsey, Lord 
Great Chamberlain of England ; Edward, Earl of Dorset, Lord 
Chamberlain to the Queen ; John Shorey, Mayor of Boston ; Sir 
Robert Killigrew, Vice- Chamberlain to the Queen ; Robert Callice, 
Serjeant-at-Law ; and others ; to make enquiry into the state of this 
district. After hearing evidence, " they found that the following 
lands were overflowed with fresh water, viz., Dockdike hurne, 
from Armitage Causey, and Howbriggs, east, to the river of 
Witham, west ; and from the said river of Witham, south, to Haw- 
thorne, north, from the east end of Hundell House grounds, and so 
along by Raydyke, to the north side of Moorhouse grounds ; from 
thence by Mareham, Revesby, East Kirkby and Hagnaby, to 
Hagnaby gate; and thence along by Barloade bank, and the 
west end of Stickney Severals, to Stickney Graunge ; from thence on 



305 

the north side of West-house grounds, along to Black-syke ; from 
thence on the north side of Medlam to Gamock Stake ; from thence 
directly to the east end of Hundel House grounds from Stickney 
Graunge, southwards, on the west side of the Severals of Stickney 
and Nordyke Gate, east, to Nordyke stream, south, and the West 
Fenne, west ; wherein is included Westhouse grounds, the low 
grounds belonging to Stickney Grange and Thornedales, from N orlands 
lane, along between Sibsey Severals and the new drain to Hale Causey ; 
from thence along to the Shottells: " and also the "East Fenne,extending 
in length from the Severals of Wainfleet on the east, to the Severals 
of Stickney on the west : and in breadth from the Severals of 
Waynflet, Friskney, Wrangle, Leake, and Stickney on the south : 
and the Severals of Stickford, Keales, Toynton, Halton, Steping, 
and Thorpe on the north, were for the most part surrounded 
grounds ; and likewise that certain Severals and Commons of divers 
Lords and Owners, belonging to Waynflet and Friskney, lying 
between a bank called Fendyke Bank on the east, and East Fen on 
the west, and abutting on the old drain called Symon Gote towards 
the south, and upon Thorpe Dales towards the north, and certain 
severals of divers Lords and Owners belonging to Wrangle, lying 
between the said old drain called Symon Gote on the east, and 
Leake Severals on the west ; and abutting upon Lade Bank 
towards the north, and upon the old Fendyke bank towards the 
south, were surrounded grounds most part of the year ; and more- 
over that the several grounds and commons of divers Lords and 
Owners belonging to Leake, lying betwixt the East Fen on the 
north, and the Outweare bank on the south, and abutting upon 
Wrangle Severals towards the east, and upon Sibsey Weare bank 
and Stickney Wydalls towards the west ; and the Severals of divers 
Lords and Owners of grounds belonging to Stickney Wydalls lying 
betwixt the East Fen on the east and north, and abutting upon 
Valentine Dyke towards the west, and upon a drain leading to 
Nordyke Brigge towards the south, were surrounded grounds in the 
winter time. And lastly that the Severals of certain Lords and 
Owners of grounds belonging to Toynton next Spillesby, called the 
Demesns, lying between the East Fen on the south, and a certain 
meadow called the East Fen on the north, and abutting upon a drain 
called Toynton Beck towards the east, and upon Hare Hills towards 
the west, were surrounded grounds also for the winter season," and 
that these lands were capable of recovery. They therefore deemed 
that a tax of ten shillings an acre should be levied for the repairs of 
the natural outfalls at Waynflete Haven, Black Gote, Symon Gote, 
Maud Foster Gote, New Gote and Anton Gote, as also any other 
cuts or drains that should be found necessary to be made or enlarged. 
In default of payment a concession was granted to Sir Anthony 
Thomas, John Warsopp and others, who became the undertakers of 



ADVENTUR- 
ERS* 



2o6 

state Papers the drainage on being granted a certain quantity of the drained land. 

Domestic, 1631. ° . - ,. 7, , , , , 

Commissioners were appointed to divide and set out the lands 
decreed to Sir Anthony Thomas and John Warsopp, out of the fens 
to be drained by them on the north east side of the river Witham. 
The Commissioners were directed to take care that 1,500 acres of 
the drained land and fourpence reserved on every acre be tied for 
the perpetual maintenance of the works ; and that 1,600 acres of 
the lands decreed to the Undertakers in the East Fen and 400 acres 
in the West Fen should be conveyed to the use of the poor cottagers 
and inhabitants. 

The Adventures commenced operations in 1631, and enlarged 
the drain which had been previously made, or as described in 
Dugdale, "made a great and navigable stream, three miles in length, 
from Cowbridge to the Haven, near Boston, and at the end of it the 
old Maud Foster Gowt was replaced by ' a very large gowt of stone 
and timber.'" This sluice had a water way of 13ft., and the bottom 
of the drain was made 30ft. wide. In 1807 a stone was found near 
Mount Bridge, bearing the following inscription, ' Anthony Thomas 
Knight buylded this sluice, 1635.' They also made ' many other 
petty sewers, gutters and streams, having their courses to the said 
main river, and over them were erected many bridges and other 
works, done with so much diligence ' that three years after the 
commencement, a decree was made by the Court of Sewers " that, 
on a view of the late surrounded grounds, viz., East and West Fen, 
Earle's Fen, Armetre Fen, and Wildmore Fen, and other the 
drowned commons and adjacent surrounded grounds, lying on the 
north and north east of the river Witham, within the extent of the 
said Commission, they adjudged the same to be so drained as that 
hey were fit for arable, meadow, and pasture. And that out of 
3,000 acres of pits, deeps and holes which formerly existed, there 
now only remained 1673 acres." And they confirmed to Sir 
Anthony Thomas a grant of one-half of the commons land in the 
East Fen, and a third of the Severals adjacent thereto ; and also 
one-fourth of the West Fen and the surrounded grounds adjoining ; 
2,500 acres of the lands so granted were made liable to the main- 
tenance of the works, and the rents were to be paid into the hands 
of the Mayor of Boston, to be employed for and about the repairs of 
the bridges, gotes and drains, until they amounted to the sum of 
^"2,000, to the extent of which amount they were always answerable. 
The total quantity acquired by the Adventurers, as recompense for 
their undertaking, was altogether 16,300 acres, which brought them 
a rental of ^"8,000 a year. The amount expended in the drainage 
and reclamation was ^30,000, and they subsequently spent ^20,000 
in improving their lands and in constructing buildings. 
Fig. 8. The Fens, The drainage of the fens, as carried out by Adventurers, is 

17th century, shown on the Map of the Fens, Fig. 8. 



Dugdale. 1635. 



utiinal* 



Hawthorn matg 




Ht«ti[<Mt &aseV 

du > HiJ-mZkiqe. 



Tke EigJtt Hundred 
lemie 



T/teUne, on. toe, mtt/ide-wmretf rue cricks t is ate. J 
Cvrcum/krtJitA, of tktee finns. 



JButterurick 



ThSmUafJifihs, 



fc. 



4.d 







tyyvertoii 



W/lerlon rocL „l|i. 



'ireke 



Fig: 8. 
AiVUp o£ Ch <w f >- 

E A£ T and WZ $ T FENJVE 
1 1661 

(j)ug-dale) 




JDufcck St 



207 

The works carried out by the Adventurers appear to have con- Fig. s. 
sisted in diverting the water from the West Fen and the South of 
the East Fen, from the Witham at Anton's Gowt to the new Maud 
Foster Gowt, and by constructing drains on the north to prevent 
the high land water from flooding the fens, and by opening out and 
improving the outfall to Wainfleet Haven. In the West and Wild- 
moor Fens, the old Nunham Drain, which discharged at Anton's 
Gowt, was improved, and a new drain extended from it in a westerly 
direction to Dogdyke. 

For seven years the Adventurers' tenants enjoyed their occupa- »""• 

tions, building houses, sowing corn, and feeding cattle thereon ; at 
the end of that time, the Commoners, " finding that done, of which 
they themselves despaired, made several clamours, but finding no 
relief in time of peace, they resolved to try if force and violence 
would compass that which neither justice nor reason could give ; 
and to that end, a little before Edgehill fight, in 1642, they, being 
incensed by some then in faction, took arms, and in a riotous manner 
they fell upon the Adventurers, broke the sluices, laid waste their 
lands, threw down their fences, spoiled their corn, demolished their 
houses, and forcibly retained possession of the land." The new 
sluice, erected at Maud Foster, was probably destroyed at this time, 
as 80 years later reference is made in an order of the Court of 
Sewers to the erection of a new sluice at a place ' where a gote 
formerly existed.' 

The Adventurers, finding that the Sheriff and other local 
authorities could not afford them protection, petitioned the Houses 
of Lords and Commons. With the former they were successful, the 
Lords passing the Bill for the relief and security of the drainers, 
because of the advantage accruing to the King by the improvement 
of his lands, from fourpence to ten and twelve shillings per acre 
yearly; and for repaying^coooexpended by the Undertakers. Being 
opposed by the Commoners they failed to obtain an Act from the 
Commons. The Commoners stated in their petition that Sir A. Thomas 
had not fairly obtained the decree from the Court of Sewers in the 
first instance ; that he had not fulfilled his bargain, as the lands — 
particularly in the West and Wildmore Fens — were not improved 
by his works, but were then worth from 10s. to 15s. per acre 
yearly ; further that the quantity of land granted to him was ex- 
cessive : and that he was already well paid for what he had done by 
his seven years' possession ; that the profits the drainers had 
enjoyed for seven years were ^57,000, which was more than they 
had laid out on the works. Having heard both parties, the House 
of Commons ordered that the Sheriff and Justices of the Peace 
should prevent and suppress riots, if any should happen, but ex- 
pressly declared that they did not intend thereby to prejudice the 
parties interested in point of title to the lands, orto hinder the Com. 



2o8 

moners in the legal pursuit of their interest. Upon this the parties 
commenced proceedings at common law against the Adventurers, in 
which they were successful, 
ite Pape^ j n tne {-g^g f the Adventurers in the East and West Fens as 

iestic, 1667. 

presented to the court it is stated that the level contained 45,000 
acres, that Sir Anthony Thomas in his lifetime by the general 
approbation of that part of the country undertook the draining 
according to a Law of Sewers made on the 15th of April, in the 
seventh year of Charles I, and that he was to have for his recom- 
pense 16,000 acres. That, before draining, the land was not worth 
fourpence per acre ; but he had rendered them so fertile that they 
had abundant crops of all sorts of corn and grain and seed for oyl, 
and His Majesty's customs had increased thereby and the country 
people became much enriched who before were very poor. That 
the Adventurers, with the children of him (Sir Anthony Thomas), 
that had added so great a patrimony to the king, were by the 
meaner and ruder sort of people expulsed their possession, and their 
houses, works, crops and inclosures barbarously demolished and 
destroyed, which had cost £50,000. 

In the proceedings it was stated that at that time 52 towns or 
villages, and 40,000 families had right of common in these Fens. 

The Court of Sewers again resumed charge of the district, 
taking over such of the drains and sluices as remained after the 
destruction caused by the Fenmen. The drainage for a long time 
after this remained in a very unsatisfaclory state. 

At a Court of Sewers held in 1722, it was presented that a new 
gote ought to be erected nigh where a gote formerly existed, called 
Maud Foster Gote, at the cost and charges of the Soke of Boling- 
broke and the towns of East Holland, the estimated expense being 
£1,200. At the same Court, Wainfleet Clough was presented as 
not being sufficient to carry off the water, as twice as much water 
then ran through the East Fen through Nordyke Bridge as went 
down Goodyke and White Cross drains ; and an order was made 
for the erection of a new sluice. Neither of these orders was 
carried out. 

At a general Court of Sewers held at Boston in 1734, a petition 
of the Landowners and Tenants in Wrangle, Leake, Leverton, Ben- 
ington, Butterwick, Freiston, Fishtoft, Boston East, Skirbeck and 
Sibsey was presented, showing that the ' New Gote' in the Witham 
near Frith Bank was in great danger of being lost and asking that a 
Jury might be called to inspetft this, and also an old gote, called 
' Maud Foster's Gowt,' as owing to the bad state of the drainage 
the lands were constantly flooded. The Jury found that the - New 
Gote ' had become ineffective owing to the condition of the River 
Witham, which was silted up, and the Court.having viewed the fen 
and the gotes,found the land to be in a grievous and deplorable con- 



TROL HE- 

LD BY COURT 



UD FOSTER 
M & SLUICE 
STRUCTCD. 



2og 

dition, by reason of the violent and excessive inundations of fresh 
waters, which in the late extraordinary wet season had descended 
upon them from the high country, which had overflooded and 
' drownded ' the same to the very great damage of the Owners, and 
tending to the impoverishing and utter ruin of the King's liege 
subjects, to the great diminution of his revenue and absolute 
destruction and loss of the lands of the Petitioners and others. It 
was ordered that " Maud Foster Gote should be cleaned, opened, 
repaired and mended in her tunns, dams, aprons and wings, with 
good and proper materials for the same, both with respect to her 
stone, brick, timber, iron and clay works, to be done by acre silver 
and proportioned rateably, according to the advantage and benefit of 
the several Landowners, and quantity of acres on their benefit in the 
respective towns, parishes and hamlets running and passing their 
waters to the said gote." Further it was found that as the gote was 
' too strait and narrow and cannot carry the waters off the lands,' 
a new gote should be built at some convenient distance from 
the said Maud Foster's Gowt, of brick and stone and timber, with 
one tun 12ft. wide, and they estimated that the said gote and drain 
would cost /~i,ooo. The drain leading from the gote to Colling's 
Bridge was to be ditched and cleansed and the old decayed bridges 
taken up and new ones erected in their stead, and the drain, from 
the gote to Pedder's Cross, made 30ft. wide at the bottom and 7ft. 
deep, at a cost of iS/- a rood ; from Pedder's Cross to Colling's 
Bridge, 30ft. wide and 5ft. deep. Mount Bridge, Hobson's 
Bridge, Main Ridge Bridge, Hospital Bridge and Colling's Bridge 
were to be repaired or replaced. By " reason of the arduousness 
and multiplicity of the said works, and great numbers of artificers 
and workmen employed about the same,the Court appointed Maister 
William Stennet and Maister John Millington, persons well skilled 
and versed in accounts, the nature and price of materials, and 
mechanicks, and the rate and value of workmanship, to be 
Surveyors and Expenditors, and to inspect, survey, measure 
and direct the works and materials used thereon, and supervise and 
pay the workmen," and they were to be allowed and paid the sum 
of 3/4 each day. 

This sluice was subsequently described in Grundy's report as 
having one arch of 15ft. and a draw door of 15ft., to retain the fresh 
water, and which was drawn up by two large wooden screws, and a 
pair of pointing doors. 

At a subsequent Court it was shown on the ' modest represen- 
tation' of Samuel Preston, the Treasurer " that through the general 
poverty of the kingdom and universal want of trade no reasonable 
profit for the sale of any commodities produced in these parts could 
be obtained, and that by reason of the particular distress of all the 
said parishes in East Holland very little of the money due from the 



2IO 



rates which had been levied could be raised." The Court therefore 
gave time for payment and authorised their treasurer to borrow 
money for the purpose of defraying the more immediate expenses of 
the said works. 

The following table gives the acreage of the lands which were 
taxed for the maintenance of Maud Foster Gowt and Drain. 

Acres. 
370 



ATTTHPT TO 
DRAIN THE WEST 
FEN BT MAUD 
FOSTER DRAIN. 



Boston 

Skirbeck 

Freiston 

Butterwick .. 

Benington . . 

Leverton 

Leake 

Wrangle 

Sibsey 

Frith Bank .. 

Fishtoft 



1,880 
1,980 

779 
1,560 
1,300 
3.692 
2,040 
2,400 
642 
740 



I7.383 
The new sluice at Maud Foster and the cleaning out and deep- 
ening the drains leading thereto appear to have considerably 
improved the condition of the drainage of those lands which obtained 
relief for their water that way. In fact, so much so, that the occu- 
piers of lands in the other part of the fens and in the Soke of 
Bolingbroke were anxious to discharge their water that way also, 
instead of through Anton's Gowt into the Witham, the drainage by 
which, owing to the silting up of the channel of the Witham, had 
become very imperfect. The Proprietors in the East Fen and others 
endeavoured to set up a right to drain by the new sluice, losing 
sight of the fact that, when the sluice was about to be built and the 
drains made, the Owners of the lands in the Soke of Bolingbroke 
were invited to join in the undertaking, and on account of their 
refusing to do so the sluice and drains were made of less dimensions 
than they would otherwise have been. 

In 1754 at a Court of Sewers held at Spilsby,on the representa- 
tion of certain owners of land, an order was obtained for deepening 
and widening Medlam Drain to Cherry Comer and removing the 
existing sluice, whereby the West Fen water found its way through 
Mill Drain to Maud Foster. 

In 1754 the Occupiers in the other parts of the fen attemped to 
open up a communication between the waters of the west side of the 
West Fen and the new outfall by Cherry Corner. This, however, 
was opposed by the town of Boston on the ground that the waters 
coming from the land in question ought by right to drain to the 
Witham, and that to deprive that river of this supply would be 
detrimental to the navigation. They therefore petitioned the Court 
of Sewers to have the communication, which had been opened out, 



211 

stopped again, by means of a door placed across the drain at Cherry 
Corner, for the purpose of preventing the waters of the East Fen 
and the east side of the West Fen from flowing to Maud Foster. 
The Boston Court made the order as requested and directed the 
Surveyor of the Soke of Bolingbroke to restore the drainage to its 
former condition, under a penalty of ^"200 in default. 

The controversy between the contending parties was carried on 
for some time, and on one occasion led to some severe rioting in the 
neighbourhood of Sibsey. It was not finally ended until the new 
scheme for the improvement of the Witham was promoted. Boston, 
however, succeeded in obtaining the construction of Anton's Gowt 
in the new channel of the Witham, for taking the water from the 
East and West Fens, the owners of land in those fens insisting on 
a clause being inserted in the Act enabling them to drain by Maud 
Foster, in case the drainage by Anton's Gowt proved ineffectual. 

In 17S4. Mill Drain was deepened and enlarged by Mr. Pacey its< _ 

of Boston, acting under the direction of certain Proprietors of land, 
and the drain, leading from Xordyke Bridge to Cherry Corner, was 
lowered. This produced a partial drainage of the East Fen, and 
lowered the water in the ■ deeps,' but the effect was also to destroy 
the herbage in the fen and hinder the navigation of the pools and 
dykes. The Fenmen thereupon erected a dam across the new cut. 
In a petition sent by the Fenmen relating to this drain, they say, objections to 
" It is well known that the temperate and industrious part of the 
poor inhabitants of the Soke of Bolingbroke, has, for a long time, 
supported themselves and their families comfortably with the pro- 
duce of the East Fen, by fishing and getting coarse and fine thatch- 
Man}- of us, by the blessing of God and our own industry, has 
procured a cow or two, which we used to graze in the said fen in the 
summer, and get fodder for their support in winter, but, alas, of these 
privileges we are in a great measure deprived by a set of men called 
Commissioners, who hath imbibed such a rage for drainage, that 
exceeds both utility and justice. Utility, because it destroys the 
grass and herbage, and is hurtful both to farmers and poor men ; 
justice, because it deprives the poor of their privileges— for the 
fishery is ruined, the thatch is destroyed, the fodder vers" scarce. 
And to make our grievance the more intolerable, and to complete our 
ruin, and show how unfeeling they are, they even now are depriving 
us of the benefit we expected from the late rains, that is, of getting 
our fodder and fuel to land, by running the water away out of both 
fens. We, your petitioners, humbly pray you to take up our cause, 
and, if possible, procure redress for us, by causing a temporary dam 
to be made in Sibsey Cut for our present relief, and a permanent 
stanch for our future supply ; and, if practicable, we beg leave to 
recommend to your consideration two Cuts, one on the north side 
and the other on the south side of the fen, to set bounds to the cattle 



THE DRAINAGE 

OF THE EAST 

FEN. 



212 

and supply them with water, and secure a portion of land to bring 
fodder and thatch. And your humble petitioners will be effectually 
relieved from that state of distress and poverty which must be the 
inevitable effect of the measures now pursued And your humble 
petitioners will ever hold themselves in gratitude and duty bound to 
pray for your person and family." This was signed by 105 Fenmen, 
of whom only 19 were unable to write their names, and made a mark. 
, TOB . As a result of this petition, a sluice was built across Valentine's 

Drain and the water in the East Fen retained at an agreed height. 
Grundy's In reports made by Messrs. Grundy on the Witham in 1743 

* 744 " and in 1744, they stated that New New Gote which used to dis- 
charge the water of the West and part of the East Fen into the 
Witham, when, the river ran by its mouth, had by diversion of the 
course become filled up and was then close dammed and neglected, 
and that since the building of Maud Foster Sluice the water from 
the fens had a better tendency that way, and that from this cause 
Anton's Gowt was also ' quite landed up.' 

About this time several reports had been obtained on the best 

way of improving the River Witham and the adjacent fens, which 

would, to a certain extent, affect the drainage of the West and 

Wildmore Fens by Anton's Gote and New New Gote. In 1757 

lord kohsohs Lord Monson brought forward a scheme for conveying the water 

SCHEME. 17BT. - . JO 

of the \\ est and \\ ddmore Fens to the Witham by a new cut from 
the south west comer of Frith Bank, or from Anton's Gote to New 
New Gote, and thence by a cut to a new sluice of two arches, of 
1 oft. waterway each, to be erected near the lime kilns in Boston, 
a short distance below the present Grand Sluice, at an estimated 
cost of £2,836. Medlam, Newham and Howbridge Drains, and 
those bringing the water from the East Fen this way, were to be 
scoured out, and the banks of Steeping river raised, at an estimated 
cost for the whole of £8,200. Medlam drain was to be made the 
main drain for the East and West Fens, and the East Fen waters 
were to be brought to the new main drain by Sibsey New Cut and 
the old stream under North Dyke Bridge. 
■t«. In 1 761, in a joint report made by Messrs. Grundy and Son, 

Mr. Langley Edwards and Mr. John Smeaton, on the improvement 
of the river Withams, they advised that a new sluice should 
be erected in place of the old Anton's Gote, and a new cut made 
for the drainage of Wildmore and West Fens, the effect of which 
and the new channel of the Witham would be to lower the water 
by 4ft. 

In 1773 several meetings were held at Spilsby, and Messrs. 
Stephenson, Elmhirst, Hogard, Robertson and Lovell were 
appointed a Committee to view the fens and report on the best 
method of draining them. The report states that, on viewing the 
East Fen in August, the Committee found that on an average there 



CONDITION OF 
THE FCN IN 1TT3 



213 



was about i8in. of water on the surface, and in the Deeps from 5ft. 
to 7ft. ; that Good Dyke Drain was foul with mud, and White Cross 
Clough in a ruinous condition, and that there was 5ft. of water on 
the sill ; that the drain from the sluice to Salem Bridge was defi- 
cient both in depth and breadth ; that the course of Wainfleet 
Haven from the Salem Bridge to the new sluice was very crooked, and 
ran through high land ; that the ' meals,' or banks, along the course of 
the Haven from the new sluice to Gibraltar Point were increasing 
and running southward, and that the channel would in a short time 
be lost ; that from Gibraltar House towards Skegness was a bold 
shore, where the sea set in hard against the ' meals,' and that this 
was a proper place for erecting a new sluice. The ' meals ' consisted of 
a light blowing sand, but at the bottom of the channel was a strong 
clay. This Committee advised that an Outfall Sluice, with two tuns 
of 15ft. water way, with pointing and draw doors, should be erected, 
and a new Cut made through the marshes to Wainfleet Haven, 
where the living waters from Steeping River and the ' Levy ' towns 
should join the waters from the East Fen ; that a new Cut be made 
on the north-west side of Lord Pawlett's bank to White Cross 
Drain, and that the Good Dyke and South Stream into the East 
Fen should be enlarged. The Limb was to be made 30ft. wide, and 
the banks from Steeping Mill to the- north-east side of White Cross 
were to be strengthened. The estimated cost of these works was 
^"12,398. This report was approved, and the whole question referred 
to a further meeting of the Proprietors, to be held in London. 

In 1774 meetings of the Landowners were held at the St. 
Albans Tavern, London, and in the following year at Spilsby. 
At the former Mr. Grundy was instructed to make a report 
on the drainage of lands in the East Fen and the East Holland 
towns draining by Wainfleet Haven and Maud Foster Sluice, 
and on the best means of improving the same. Mr. Grundy, in his 
report, thus describes the condition of the drainage. Steeping River, 
after passing through a bridge at Halton, 13ft. 6in. wide, fell into 
Wainfleet Haven at White Cross Bridge. Below this bridge it was 
joined by the Steeping Beck. The waters from the East Fen were 
brought to the Haven at W T hite Cross Clough by 'Goodyke.' Point- 
ing doors, which formerly had been placed in Goodyke to stop the 
water from going into the fen, had been demolished and disused for 
many years. Firsby Clough was 15ft. 3m. wide, and had a draw 
door. The ' Lymn,' from Firsby Clough to its outfall in Wainfleet 
Haven at Stone Gowt, was 5ft. 4m. wide ; Bethlehem Bank formed 
the eastern boundary of the low lands which drained into that stream. 
The outfall clough, or sluice, in Wainfleet Haven was of brick, having 
two arches, one of 5ft. ioin., and the other of 12ft. 6in., two arches 
of the sluice as originally built having recently been thrown into one. 
The Haven, from the Outfall Sluice to Stone Gowt, was very 



1TT4. 
MEETINGS OF 
LANDOWNERS' 



Grundy's 
Report. 1774. 



CONDITION OF 
THE DRAINAGE, 



5*4 

crooked, as it was also to Queen's Gote, an old deserted sluice. 
The width of Stone Gote was 15ft. 2in. At a quarter of a mile 
above Wainfleet All Saints there was an engine with a wheel, 13ft. 
in diameter, for draining the low grounds in Wainfleet St. Mary. 
There were also engines and wheels for draining 800 acres belong- 
ing to Bethlehem Hospital and lands in Thorpe and Croft. The 
medium width of Wainfleet Haven, at the water line from the Sea 
Sluice to White Cross Clow, was 18ft. nin., and the depth of water 
3ft. 6in. The distance from Gibraltar House to the Sea Clow was 
1 mile 3 furlongs, and the total distance to White Cross Clough 
8 miles. Black Dyke is described as running from the East Fen 
through the high tofts to the sea, having a bridge at Friskney, with 
one arch of 10ft. 7in. Friskney was drained by an engine and 
wheel, 14ft. 6in. in diameter, which discharged into the sea through 
Friskney Clow. Hilldyke Bridge had an opening of lift. 7m., and 
Maud Foster an outlet of 15ft., which was then a good outfall, as 
the Haven was close under it. Hale Bridge was 14ft. wide and 
Stone Bridge 20ft. The low grounds in Wrangle, Leake, Leverton, 
Benington, Butterwick, Freiston and the Ings, Boston Long 
Hedges, Skirbeck and Sibsey, all drained by Maud Foster. Fishtoft 
Parish drained by Fishtoft Creek. There was a sea gowt at 
Freiston Shore, having a pair of pointing doors of 4ft. 6in., which 
drained the higher part of the parish ; at Leverton was a gowt 4ft. 
wide, to drain the marshes and high land ; at Wrangle was the New 
Marsh Clow 2ft. 4m. wide ; and under Friskney Sea Bank were five 
outfall clows, two of 2ft., the Engine Drain 4ft. and the others 2ft . 
7in. and 2ft. 8in. The level of the water in the drain at Salem 
Bridge was 10ft. 2in. above low water at Gibraltar House ; in Black 
Dyke 5ft. 4in. higher. The average level of the surface of the low 
land lying between Wainfleet and Boston varied from 6ft. to 8ft. 
above low water ; the water in Wainfleet Haven at Gibraltar 
House was then ift. 4iin. lower than that in Boston Haven at Maud 
Foster Sluice. About 24,500 acres of the level drained by Wain- 
fleet Haven. 

Grundy proposed to divide the District into two Levels : the low 
s"h"-e. s lands lying east of Stickney, and as far south as Wrangle, to 
drain by Wainfleet Haven ; and the remainder by Maud Foster. 
At Wainfleet Haven a new sluice was to be built, about ij 
miles belowthe existing sluice near Gibraltar House,having five arches, 
with 68ft. of water way. This sluice was to be connected with the old 
one, which would inclose 63 acres of salt marsh. The Haven was to 
be widened to a bottom of 66ft., for a length of one mile four chains. 
The worst of the bends being removed. The ' Lymn * was to be enlarged 
and strengthened from Stone Gowt to Firsby Clough, and a new 
sluice erected at the end, with an opening of 1 3ft. Steeping River was 
to be deepened and enlarged for two miles, so as to have a 16ft. bottom. 



SCHEME, I7TE 



ROBERTSON'S 
SCHEME* 



215 

A main drain was to be made for the drainage of the East Holland 
Towns of Wainfleet St. Mary, Friskney and Wrangle from the 
main river, about half-a-mile above Salem Bridge, having 14ft. 
bottom. Black Dyke was to be enlarged to a 12ft. bottom. Good Dyke 
and South Stream were to be also enlarged. The estimated cost of 
these works was £"37,314. 

As affecting this proposal to drain by Wainfleet Haven, it 
appears that at that time the tide flowed 2^ hours in Boston Deeps 
before it began to flow in the Haven opposite Gibraltar House. 

In the following year schemes were brought forward by Mr. 
John Hudson and Mr. Joseph Robertson of Sibsey. 

Mr. Hudson's proposal, as laid before the Court of Sewers huoson'» 
at Spilsby, in July, was to widen Wainfleet Haven from the Sea 
Clough to Croft Outfall, so as to make the bottom 25ft. wide, 
decreasing it to 16ft. at Good Dyke Sluice ; and to construct a pen 
lock, 56ft. long and 10ft. wide, instead of the sluice at Good Dyke. 
The estimated cost, including the widening of Steeping river and Good 
Dyke South Stream, was £4,143. 

Mr. Robertson's scheme was to add two arches of 13ft. each to 
Maud Foster Sluice ; to enlarge the drain from 30ft. to 70ft. at the 
bottom, for one and a quarter miles ; to enlarge Stone Bridge drain, 
from Collins' Bridge (Cowbridge) to Hall Bridge, to a 40ft. bottom ; 
the drain from the East Holland towns to join Maud Foster at 
Collins' Bridge ; a new drain from Hale Bridge to Cherry Corner to be 
made to a 20ft. bottom ; the drains running from Cherry Corner to 
the west side of the East Fen and connecting the East and West 
Fen water, called Deepdale, to be enlarged to Valentine's Drain ; 
Mill Drain to be enlarged from Collins' Bridge to Cherry Corner. 
The estimated cost of enlarging these drains, with the bridges and 
other works, was £"18,615. 

For the improvement of the drainage of the ■ Levy ' towns, with 
Friskney and part of Wrangle, a new sluice was to be built in 
Wainfleet Haven, having 26ft. of opening, or else another tun to be 
added to the old one ; the Haven to be enlarged to Stone Gowt to 
a 40ft. and to White Cross to a 30ft. bottom. The bank of Steeping 
River on the east side, from Firsby Clough to White Cross, was to 
be raised, and a new drain made from Wrangle, through Friskney 
and Wainfleet St. Mary, to the Haven. The total number of acres 
chargeable for this portion of the drainage was put at 11,993. 

No action was taken on these reports, and the fens remained in 
a most unsatisfactory state, owing to their lost and flooded condition, 
and also from the disorder in stocking, and from those having 
common rights sending in much larger quantities of stock than they 
were entitled to. Cattle stealing and disease also detracted from 
the value derived from the summer feeding, so that what was gained 
in one year was lost in another. In fact it was stated that some of 



CONDITION OP 
THE FENS. 1775. 



SIR J, BANKS. 



216 

the largest common right owners had ceased for several years to 
send any stock to the fens. 

The East Fen, being the lowest, was in the worst condition, and 
there were there 2,000 acres always under water. The West and 
Wildmore Fens are described as having ' whole acres covered with 
thistles and nettles, four feet high and more.' Numerous attempts 
were made to bring about the inclosure and drainage, but the matter 
was protracted, owing to the difficulty in settling the basis on which 
the land should be divided amongst those who claimed to have 
rights in the difterent fens. 

Sir Joseph Banks, of Revesby, took a very active part in en- 
deavouring to reconcile the various interests for one common object. 
. Yoong, 1799. Arthur Young says that he had much " conversation with Sir 
Joseph Banks, who, I was glad, but not surprised, to find had the 
most liberal ideas upon the subject of reclaiming the Fens. No man 
sees clearer the vast advantages which would result from the mea- 
sure to the country in general. No man can be more desirous that 
it should be effected. He has collected, with the utmost assiduity, 
every document necessary for the measure, and is prepared for it in 
every respect. He makes no conditions for himself personally 
but will trust all to the Commissioners. . . . The waste and 
disgraceful state in which so many acres remain rests not, therefore, 
at his door. When I told him that upon enquiring why these 
horrid fens were not drained and divided, it was said that ' Sir Joseph 
Banks was like a great bull at Revesby, ready with his horns to 
butt at any one that meddled,' he replied, ' very true, Sir Joseph 
is that bull to repulse those who would pretend to carry the measure 
upon wild and ill concerted plans in spite of him, but let them come 
forward in the right way, and with any prospect of success, and 
they shall find that Revesby bull a lamb.' " 

From a statement made by Mr. Anthony Bower, the resident 
Engineer employed in carrying out the works, in his report made to 
the Governors of the Bedford Level, it appears that the area of the 
Fens in 1799 'was as follows : 

Acres. 

East Fen 12,664 

Lower part of West Fen... .. ... ... 12.303 

„ „ Wildmore Fen 7770 



A. Bower, 1799. 



32.737 



This land every Winter under water. 

East Fen Deeps ... ... ... 2,500 

No Man's Friend... ... ... ... ... 1 cqo 



4,000 



Under water in Summer. 

High land draining through the Fen 25,000 

East Holland towns and old enclosures ... 25,000 



CNNIC'G 
REPORTS, ISC 



217 

This high land water overflowed the fens. " The whole of the 
water off this area of 61,737 acres had to find its way to sea through 
three small gowts or sluices ; viz., Anton's Gowt, which had an 
opening of 14ft. ; Maud Foster, an opening of 13ft. ; and Fishtoft, an 
opening of 4ft. The first was of little use, being so high up the 
river Witham as to be over-rode by the most trifling flood ; the 
whole drainage therefore of the fens and low lands had to depend 
upon the small sluice at Maud Foster." This statement is not 
quite correct, as part of the East Fen water found an escape through 
Wainfleet Haven. There were also some small sluices in the sea 
bank, under the control of the Court of Sewers, and part of the 
water of Friskney was raised by an engine and wheel and sent to 
sea through a small gowt. 

The general surface of the East Fen and of Wrangle Common 
was about 8ft. above the sill of old Maud Foster Sluice. 

At a meeting of the Proprietors of Wildmore Fen, held at meeting or 

•wr • r T*» ' 1-1 .1 LANDOWNERS, 

Horncastle in 1799, Mr. Rennie was desired " to cause the neces- ,79.. 

sary levels and surveys to be taken and to report his opinion of the 

best mode of effectually draining Wildmore Fen separately ; and 

also the bast mode of draining the East, West and Wildmore Fens 

in one scheme." The surveys were made by Mr. A. Bower of 

Lincoln and Mr. Jas. Murray. The report is dated London, April 

7, 1800. A subsequent report was made, dated Sep. 1, 1800. Mr. 

Rennie reported as the result of his examination that the fens were 

the receptacle not only of the waters which fell on their own surface 

but of all that which flowed rapidly down from the high lands above, 

and that owing to the smallness of the sluices, and their doors being 

over-ridden by the water in the rivers, and the badness of the drains, 

the greater part of the spring was gone before the water which had 

accumulated in the fen could be carried off. To remedy this the 

first object which required consideration was the outfall ; the 

second, the discharging the water falling on the fens ; and the third, 

the intercepting the high land water and preventing its entering the 

fens. 

The drainage of the Wildmore and part of the West Fen was 
made through Anton's Gowt, by means of the sluice erected by the 
Witham Commissioners at the time the river was straightened, as 
detailed in the preceding chapter, the sill of which was 2ft. above 
the sill of the Grand Sluice. Through this sluice also were dis- 
charged the waters from the high country, lying in the lordships of 
Kirkby, Revesby, Mareham, Tumby, and Coningsby; but in times 
of flood the W r itham over-rode the waters from these parts, and 
they were driven back through Medlam Drain and West House 
Syke to Cherry Corner, whence they found their way by Mill Drain, 
or Stone Bridge Drain, to Maud Foster's Gowt, which consisted of a 
single opening, 13ft. wide, its sill being 3m. lower than the sill of the 



2lS 

Grand Sluice. Low water of spring tides at that time stood about 
4ft. gin. on the sill, and the general surface of the lands in the West 
and Wildmore Fens was gft. above the sill, allowing a fall of 4ft. 
3in. from the surface to low water mark. The lowest land in the 
Fen, called ' No Man's Friend,' was one foot below the rest, and 
was frequently covered with water to that depth. The East Fen 
Deeps were covered, on an average, about 2ft. in dry summers. 
objections xhe scheme recommended by Mr. Rennie, and adopted by the 

TO RENNIE'G J m , . 

scHEac. Commissioners, will be more fully detailed hereafter. Opinions 
were much divided as to the best means of dealing with the drain- 
age. The Proprietors of Wildmore Fen were anxious, if possible, to 
keep this separate and to discharge the water into the Witham at 
Anton's Gowt. A strong feeling also prevailed that the drainage of 
the East Fen should be discharged into the river at the old oulet at 
Maud Foster, on the principle that for the preservation of an outfall 
the tributary stream should be conducted to its channel at the high- 
est point possible. Others more intimately connected with the 
district contended that the main object to be sought was the efficient 
drainage of the Fens, irrespective of other considerations, and there- 
fore advocated a new cut to Wainfleet Haven ; while a third plan 
was that which was finally adopted, being a compromise between 
the two, by which the water was to be conveyed by a new cut 
through the centre of the East Fen, discharging into the river near 
Fishtoft Gowt. 

Owing to the obstruction in the Witham, caused by the silt 
accumulating below the Grand Sluice from the want of scour, Mr. 
Rennie was of opinion that the surface of the water in Anton's 
Gowt could never be greatly lowered, even if a new cut were made 
from it and the water carried to the Witham below the Grand 
Sluice. He therefore advised against the scheme for draining Wild- 
more Fen in this way. As regards the drainage of the East Fen by 
Wainfleet Haven he says, " Were the Wainfleet Gowt to be taken 
away and a new one established at the angle of the sea bank just 
above Gibraltar House and about a mile and a quarter further to 
seaward than the present gowt, the sill of which might be laid lower 
than Maud Foster, so that nearly 4ft. of additional fall in the surface 
of the water more than is at present might be obtained ; but before 
the water could be brought from the East Fen to this gowt a very 
expensive cut through land, generally from 12ft. to 13ft. deep, must 
be made for the distance of eight miles. A new and expensive cut 
would also be wanted for the Steeping, or Limb, River, and when all 
was done the quantity of water which passes through Wainfleet 
Haven being but small, the outfall could not be easily maintained 
in an efficient state." He advised therefore, after duly considering 
the whole of these reasons, that the only effectual place through 
which the East Fen, and the low grounds in the East Holland 



2ig 

towns could he drained, was at Fishtoft, or rather lower than where 
the present gote is situated. He points out that the expense of this 
Cut would be considerable, as five and a half miles of it would re- 
quire to be excavated in ground from 15ft. to 18ft. high, and the other 
four miles in ground from 10ft. to 12ft. high, but in his opinion the 
excellent drainage which would be obtained by this means would more 
than compensate for the expense. If, " however, Boston Haven were 
to be improved so as to lower the surface of the water at Maud 
Foster's Goat, the East Fen might also be drained through this 
Outfall, which would not only save the expense of the proposed 
catchwater drain from Sibsey Willows to Maud Foster, but also the 
new Cut from Hilldyke Bridge to near Fishtoft, with the goat and 
bridges. If this should take place (effecting a saving of £27,956)" he 
considered "that these fens could afford to contribute liberally to the 
improvement of Boston Haven ; and that the money would be 
better bestowed in this way than in making the Cut in question." 
In the second report he adds, " If the Haven was to be properly 
improved I have no hesitation in saying the East Fen, with the low 
lands in Friskney, &c, may be completely drained at or near Maud 
Foster's Goat, but unless the gentlemen of Boston and others inter- 
ested in the navigation of, and drainage by, the River Witham were 
to unite and bring about a proper improvement of the same, I cannot 
advise the drainage to be conducted to any place higher than Hobhole." 

Mr. Rennie urged very strongly on the Corporation of Boston 
the scheme for straightening and improving the river from Maud 
Foster downwards. 

The estimated cost of the scheme for the West and Wildmore 
Fens was £103,262, and for the East Fen with the Cut to Fishtoft 
Gowt and the sluice, £85,290 ; together, £188,552. 

When these reports were brought before the Corporation of 
Boston, they expressed their willingness to contribute one-half of the 
expense of straightening the river from Maud Foster to Hobhole, as 
recommended by Mr. Rennie. This was not deemed sufficient by 
the Drainage Commissioners, and finally, after a great deal of con- 
sideration of the several schemes, it was determined that the water 
from the uplands and the West and Wildmore Fens should be 
conducted to Maud Foster, but that the outfall of the drainage from 
the sock and downfall of the East Fen should be near Fishtoft 
Gowt. This decision failed to give general satisfaction, and one 
pamphleteer, in a letter addressed to the Commissioners, asks how 
many pails of water they expect will pass down Maud Foster Drain, 
and observes, " If this drain is executed upon the proposed dimen- 
sions, from the sluice to Cowbridge, there will not be a supply of 
water to cover that drain above one inch deep." 

Mr. Thomas Stone strongly advocated the claims of W r ainfleet 
Haven as an outfall, and expressed the opinion that the proposed 



T. Stone, iSco. 



220 



POCKUNGTON'S 
REPORT, 1600- 



FURTHER 
OBJECTIONS! 

Holland Watch- 
man, iSoo. 



drain through a gowt below Fishtoft would not comrjletely drain 
the pits in the East Fen, and that the Proprietors must be prepared 
to endure many very expensive calls upon their pockets. 

Some of the Proprietors, also, who disagreed with Mr. Rennie's 
scheme, obtained a report from Mr. William Pocklington of Sibsey, 
who considered that the fens could be effectually drained at less 
cost and with less waste of land than by the scheme proposed by Mr. 
Rennie. He was of opinion that it was practicable to drain 
the East, West and Wildmore Fens through Maud Foster ; that 
by bringing all the water to one outfall there would be greater 
certainty of preserving and keeping open the outfall. He proposed 
leaving the deeps in the East Fen as they were, on the ground that 
this would save a large amount of expense, and that they would be 
much more useful left, as affording a basin for the reception of water 
in violent floods, and as a reservoir for water for the use of the 
country in dry seasons ; and also as a nursery for fish and fowl, and 
for the production of reeds for thatching and ' bumbles,' (rushes 
used for chair bottoms). His scheme for intercepting the high land 
water was practically the same as that which Mr. Rennie afterwards 
carried out. A new sluice with three openings was to be built in 
place of the old Maud Foster Sluice. For the West and Wildmore 
Fens the Mill Drain was to be enlarged, from Cowbridge to within 
half a mile of Swinecotes, and a new drain cut thence to Medlam 
Drain. For the East Fen Xewdyke Drain was to be enlarged from 
Cowbridge to Jenkinson's Lane, and a new cut made through the 
centre of the East Fen near the Catchwater Drain by Toynton 
Enclosure ; another Cut was to be made from the said Lane, through 
Leake Mere, along the sewer by Wrangle Common, and another to 
Toad Lane engine, and thence by Dickin Hills through the Moss- 
berry ground, along the boundary of the fen, to the Catchwater 
Drain near Steeping. The estimated cost of the whole of the scheme 
was ^"56,102. This estimate was based on the drains having a 
capacity of six cubic feet for low fen land, and twelve cubic feet for 
high land, to every 1,000 acres. The cost of excavation, at that 
time, was from 7/- to 8 - a floor, or about sixpence per cubic vard. 
With reference to this proposed drainage of the East Fen by Maud 
Foster, a pamhlet by ' A Holland Watchman ' was written to show 
that the scheme was not practicable, the author resting his evidence 
on the figures and levels given in Mr. Rennie's report, and remark- 
ing, " If the East Fen and the county adjacent, amounting to 
30,000 acres, can be drained by Maud Foster, all the levels that have 
been taken lose their credit, and the Levellers must look to theirs as 
they are able.... The game of Anton's Gowt is about to be repeated 
at Maud Foster, and as Wildmore and West Fens are now drained 
at the former, just so will your fen and your present low lands be 
drained at Maud Foster.... But for your comfort give up only the 



221 

East Fen Deeps (that is 3,000 acres) to wild fowl for the London 
market ; to fish for the Boston market ; to reeds for your houses, 
which will be covered with tiles or slate ; and to bumbles for your 
chairs which (like those of other good farmers) will be made of 
horsehair and mahogany ; and then you may be drained tolerably. . . 
The question is not whether a few acres of the deepest pits (to 
which I see no objection) but whether three thousand acres shall be 
left under water just at your door." 

On the other hand Mr. William Chapman, in two pamphlets, l8 ^, h ^d*8oi. 
strongly advocated the scheme for making Maud Foster the main 
outfall, and expressed his doubt as to the wisdom of the resolution 
passed at Boston, by which the waters of the East Fen and East 
Holland towns were to be diverted to Hobhole, and also his dis- 
approval of the plan of bringing the Anton's Gowt waters down 
to Maud Foster, thus depriving the channel through Boston of its 
aid without substituting any equivalent. He considered that it 
was " much to be regretted that those who are interested in the 
present drainages should not see the advantages of an improved 
haven ; advantages of no little importance to the town of Boston, 
but of immense magnitude to the fens in general, and to the country 
adjacent. . .By an improvement of Boston Haven the town would reap 

some advantages, the country many Fully convinced of the 

wisdom of the proposed improvement and the lasting benefits which 
would result from it, I trust that the country, the town and cor- 
poration will be prepared for union, and that to accomplish an 
improvement of such magnitude it will not be found difficult to 
raise the trifling sum of ^41,270." 

In April 1800 a meeting of the Proprietors of estates having 
right of common and other interests in the fens, was held at the 
Town Hall, Boston, Sir Joseph Banks being in the chair. At this 
meeting after considering Mr. Rennie's and Mr. Pocklington's reports, 
it was resolved that a subscription should be entered into to defray 
the preuminary expenses of obtaining an Act, the amount contributed 
to be in proportion to the number of acres owned in the fens. That 
three bills should be promoted in Parliament, one for draining the 
East, West and Wildmore Fens ; one for dividing and inclosing Wild- 
more Fen ; and the third for dividing and inclosing the East and 
West Fens. A subsequent meeting was held at the Bull Inn, 
Horncastle, of the Proprietors of rights in Wildmore Fen when 
similar resolutions were passed. 

In December of the same year a meeting of merchants and 
ship owners was held at Boston to urge on the promoters of the 
drainage the advantages to be derived from bringing all the drainage 
water to Maud Foster, and recommending that a charge of four- 
pence per ton should be levied on all vessels entering the port, 
which, it was estimated, would produce sufficient to pay the interest 



MEETING OF 

COMMONERS. 

1BOO. 



222 

on half the cost of improving the river from Maud Foster down- 
wards. 

At a meeting of the Proprietors held subsequently it was 
resolved " that the proposal of the merchants, ship owners and 
traders of Boston to cleanse and deepen the middle portion of the 
River Witham at the joint expense of themselves and the Proprie- 
tors of the fens, without deepening the outfall of the said river to 
the sea, is not likely in any degree to amend the actual outfall of 
the land waters to sea, and cannot therefore materially contribute to 
the improvement of the drainage." 

Some difference of opinion also arose as to the manner in 
which the fens should be allotted, and as to the amount claimed by 
the Duchy of Lancaster. A meeting of the Proprietors was held 
at Stickney to protest against the allowance of one twentieth, pro- 
posed to be given to the Duchy, in lieu of manorial rights, after 
deducting the land required for defraying the costs of inclosure ; it 
was also agreed that the land left after that taken to pay the expenses 
of enclosure, ought to be allotted to the owners of common rights, 
houses and toftsteads only, without any reference to the quantity of 

T. stone, 1800. the land. It was stated in a pamphlet by Thomas Stone, Land 

j Cop g j l8ol . Surveyor, published in London in 1800, that the lands thus to be 
given to the Duchy of Lancaster, when drained and improved, 
would be worth /'So.ooo. Mr. J. Cope, in a printed letter dated 
London, 1801, protested against this allotment to the Duchy, 
pointing out that in Deeping Fen the proportion claimed for the 
same rights, had only been one fortieth. 

At a subsequent meeting of those who were promoting the 
Bill for the Inclosure, held at Boston, it was resolved that in making 
the allotment of land, after providing for inclosure, roads, drains 
and manorial rights, one moiety ought to go to common right 
owners and toftsteads, and that the other should be divided among 
the proprietors of lands who had a house and who were entitled to 
stock the fen, on the 27th July, 1800 ; in proportion'to their lands 
lying in common-right parishes and places, quantity, quality and 
situation considered ; and it was further determined that those who 
dissented from this should be left to their remedy in the Courts of 
law. 

„„„ M ACT . At last in 1801 an Act was obtained entitled " An Act for the 

41 Geo. ui, c 35. better and more effectually draining certain tracts of land, called 
Wildmore Fen and the West and East Fens, in the county of 
Lincoln, and also the low lands and grounds in the several parishes, 
townships, and places, having right of common in the said fens, and 
other lowlands and grounds lying contiguous or adjoining thereto." 

43Geo.iii,c. In I ^°3 an amending Act was obtained authorising alterations in 

,A some of the works set out in the first Act. By the first Act the 

boundaries of the Fourth District of the Witham Commissioners, 



223 

as originally settled by the Witham AcT: of 1762, were extended and 
the East Fen was made to include the low grounds adjacent, being 
bounded as follows, "by the Parish of Skirbeck and the high lands of 
Fishtoft, Freiston, Butterwick, Benington, Leverton, Leake and 
Wrangle, by the Parishes of Friskney and Wainfleet St. Mary's 
and by Steeping River on or towards the east and north-east ; by 
the Parish of Skirbeck and the high lands of Fishtoft, Sibsey 
Willows, the high lands of Sibsey, Stickney, Stickford and West 
Keal, on or towards the west ; and by the high lands of East Keal ? 
Toynton All Saints, Toynton St. Peter's and Halton Holgate, and 
by Steeping River on or towards the north." 

Mr. John Renshaw of Owthorpe, Mr. William Whitelock of 
Brotherton, and Mr. Joseph Outram of Alfreton were appointed 
Commissioners for carrying int o execution the works authorised by 
the Act, under the control of the Witham General CommissionerSj 
their remuneration being fixed at £"3 3s. per day. On the completion 
of the works they were to be vested in and remain under the control 
of the Commissioners. The owners of certain low lands in Friskney, 
Wainfleet St. Mary's and Wainfleet All Saints, and on the west 
side of Steeping River, which were not within the boundary of the 
Fourth District, had the option of being included, and of obtaining 
the advantages of the provisions in the Act, if four-fifths of the 
Proprietors (in value) signified their desire to that effect. This they 
did and these lands were incorporated in the Fourth District. 

It was enacted that the outring and dmsion ditches should be 
maintained by the Owners of the land adjacent, the dimensions 
being given as 9ft. broad and 5ft. deep. By a subsequent Act power 58 Geo . iii, c.6o, 
was given to the Commissioners to require all Owners and Occupiers 
in the Fourth District, to make and keep their division ditches and 
tunnels sufficiently cleansed and scoured out, to such dimensions as 
were directed upon the inclosure, or, where not defined, to such 
reasonable dimensions as the Commissioners should think fit. 
Persons convicted of wilfully damaging any of the banks or works 
were to be deemed guilty of felony, or be fined at the discretion of 
the Court. 

Under the powers of these Acts the following works were 
executed for the drainage of the fens by Mr. Rennie. 

For the drainage of the West and Wildmore Fens a catchwater DRA ,„. OI 
drain was made, skirting the adjacent high lands. It commenced «"»"«■ 180 »- 
near the junction of the river Bane with the Witham, in the parish 
of Coningsby, and passes through Tumby, Mareham, and Revesby, 
to Hagnaby, running on the north side of the existing catch- 
water drain. At Hagnaby Corner it joined the old Gote Sike Drain, 
and continued along that, the Fen Side Drain and Stonebridge Drain, 
to Cowbridge, these drains being enlarged and deepened. This 
eatehwater drain is about eighteen miles in length, and the bottom 



224 

was made to an inclined plane, rising six inches in the mile. The 
width of the bottom, at the lower end, is thirty feet, diminishing to 
sixteen feet from Hagnaby Corner, and to eight feet at its commence- 
ment near Coningsby. 

By the first Act it was intended that this drain should continue, 
by a distinct Cut, parallel with Maud Foster, to the Haven ; and 
discharge at a new sluice to be built at the side of Maud Foster, 
so that the high and low land waters should have separate outlets ; 
but by the amended Act obtained in 1803, the Commissioners were 
authorised to omit the making of the new Cut from Cowbridge 
to the Haven and the erection of the additional sluice, and, instead, 
to make the existing arrangement by which the upland waters flow 
to sea by means of Maud Foster Drain, and provision is made, as 
hereafter described, for the West Fen waters to flow into Hobhole 
when over-ridden by them. 

A new sluice was built in Boston Haven, about three chains to 
to the east of the sluice erected in 1734. The old sluice was 
pulled down. The new sluice has three openings, of thirteen feet 
four inches each ; the sill being one foot nine inches below that 
of the Grand Sluice. The drain was deepened and widened to 
Cowbridge, the bottom being made thirty feet wide, and rising 
six inches per mile. Across this drain, at Cowbridge, a sluice 
was erected, with pointing doors, to prevent the water from the 
high lands, which discharges below this point, from backing up 
into the fens. Above the doors a communication was made to admit 
the West and Wildmore Fen waters into Hobhole Drain when they 
are above the gauge weir, and in danger of flooding the low lands. 
This drain, which passes under Stonebridge drain, the waters of 
which are conveyed over it by a stone aqueduct, having three 
openings of 12ft. each, joins the New Dyke Drain, which was 
enlarged and continued from Luke's Corner to Hobhole Drain, at 
Freiston Common. A stop was placed above the aqueduct, for 
the purpose of sending all the water that was possible through 
Maud Foster Gowt at ordinary times ; but as soon as the water rose 
within two feet of the surface of the low lands it ran over the weir. 
In times of flood, when the water was within one foot of the 
medium surface of the lowest lands, the doors were opened and the 
water allowed to flow freely to Hobhole. There is also a side cut 
near this place, in which is a lock to allow of the passage of boats 
from the West Fen to Hobhole Drain. 
30 and 31 via.. This restriction as to the passage of the waters out of the West 

Fen through New Dyke into Hobhole Drain was withdrawn in the 
Act obtained in the session of 1867, and the Commissioners have 
now power to allow the stop doors to remain open for the six 
winter months, so that the West Fen waters are discharged at 
Hobhole, instead of at Maud Foster as formerly. 



225 

From Cowbridge the drainage is provided for by the West Fen 
Drain, which is a straight Cut, with a 30ft. bottom, as far as 
the junction with Medlam Drain, at Swinecotes near Mount 
Pleasant, where it turns to the west and joins Newham Drain ; 
whence it' continues along the old Howbridge Drain to Little Wild- 
more, near Dogdyke, where the bottom was made only 8ft. 
wide. It has an average inclination, throughout its whole length of 
about nine and a half miles, of five inches per mile. Newham and 
Sandbank drains were enlarged, so as to have 1 2ft. of bottom at 
their junction with the other drain, diminishing to 8ft. at their 
termination. 

The old Medlam Drain, which is the principal outlet for the 
"West Fen, was connected with the new drain at Swinecotes. It 
was enlarged to 18ft. at its junction with the main West Fen Drain, 
diminishing to 12ft. at its termination at Revesby Gap. The length 
is about 6 miles, and the bottom has a rise of 6in. in a mile. There 
is another Cut for the purpose of draining the south part of Wild- 
more Fen, commencing at the West Fen Drain, at Cowbridge, and 
extending on the south side of Frith Bank Enclosure to Anton's Gote 
into Newham Drain, and thence along Castle Dyke and Long 
Dyke Drains, which were enlarged and deepened. This drain was 
made 16ft. in width of the bottom, at its junction with the West 
Fen Drain, diminishing to 8ft. at the upper end. The length is 
about 8 miles, and the rate of inclination was laid out at 4^in. per 
mile. 

For the drainage of the East Fen the highland water was pre- 
vented from flowing into it by a catchwater drain, commencing 
by a junction with the Old Fen Side Drain, now part of the West 
Fen Catchwater, about a quarter of a mile below Cherry Corner, 
and passing through Northdyke Bridge, across Barlode Drain, to 
Stickford, and thence along the skirts of the East Fen to Little 
Steeping. This drain was made 16ft. wide at the bottom at its 
commencement, diminishing to 6ft. at the termination. A new cut 
was made from Haguaby Beck to Barlode Drain to divert the 
waters from their old course into this drain. 

A new sluice was built in Boston Haven at Hobhole, in the 
Parish of Fishtoft, about 4 miles below Boston. The sluice was 
made with three openings of 15ft. each, the sill being laid 5ft. 
below that of the Grand Sluice, or about ift. gin. above low water 
of spring tides in Boston Deeps. At the time of construction, 
the sill was 2ft. below low water in the river. From this sluice 
a new cut was made, running in a straight line in a northerly 
direction through the Parishes of Fishtoft, Freiston, Butterwick, 
Benington, Leverton and Leake, to the junction of the old New 
Dyke Drain with the Leake and Wrangle Drain, near Benington 
Bridge. From there it followed the course of the Leake and 



HOBHOLE DRAIN. 



OTHER DRAINS' 



EVEl OF THE 



226 

Wrangle Drain, which was enlarged and deepened to Simon House 
Bridge, about 70 chains south of Lade Bank, whence a new drain 
was cut through Lade Bank to Toynton St. Peter's. The lower 
part was made with a bottom, 40ft. wide, diminishing to 12ft. at its 
termination at the upper end. The length is 14 miles, and it was 
laid out with a fall of 5m. in a mile. The lower end of this drain, 
for about 5J miles, passes through high land, the depth of the 
cutting being from 15ft. to 18ft. Barlode Drain was enlarged and 
deepened to a 16ft. bottom and extended eastward to the new 
Hobhole Drain. On the other side Good Dyke Drain was ex- 
tended westward to Hobhole Drain, which it entered opposite the 
junction with Barlode Drain. Lade Bank Drain was extended 
from Cherry Corner to Hobhole Drain, being carried under the 
Catchwater Drain at Xordyke Bridge, and from the east side of 
Hobhole Drain, along the Fen Dyke Bank to Friskney, having a 
10ft. bottom. Steeping River was deepened and embanked, so as to 
prevent its flooding the low lands, as also the Great Steeping Beck. 

These works were all carried out under the direction of Mr. 
Rennie, Mr. Anthony Bower being resident Engineer, and the con- 
tract for the largest works being executed by Mr. John Pinkerton. 

The general surface of the lowlands in the West Fen was, at 
the time of the completion of the drainage, about eleven feet above 
the sill of Maud Foster Sluice ; but a portion of the surface of 
Wildmore Fen was a foot lower than this. The surface of the 
highest part of the East Fen was about the same level, but a great 
deal of it was a foot lower, and the lowest parts, formerly the Deeps, 
were only nin e feet above Hobhole sill. 

To meet the expenses of carrying out and maint ainin g these 
works the General Commissioners were authorised to levy 
additional rates on the Wildmore and West Fens, to the extent 
of fourpence per acre, so long as they remained common lands ; but, 
on their enclosure, the rate might be raised to one shilling per acre. 
On the East Fen a tax of one shilling per acre was imposed on the 
lands held in severalty — eightpence per acre on half-year lands, and 
fourpence on common lands — to be raised to one s hilli ng on their 
enclosure. They were also authorised to enclose and sell six hun- 
dred acres of the common land, the proceeds to be applied towards 
the cost of the drainage. 

The first stone of Hobhole Sluice was laid on March 7th, 1805, 
and it was opened on September 3rd, 1806. The first stone of the 
new Maud Foster Sluice was laid on the 21st of May, 1806, and the 
sluice was opened the following year. 

Mr. Bower, reporting to the Bedford Level Commissioners in 
1814, on the result of these works, says, " It is satisfactory to state 
Bowels Report, that every wished-for object in the drainage of the whole of the fens 
and of the low lands adjoining is effectually obtained, and the lowest 



EFFECT OF THE 

DRAINAGE- 



227 

land brought into a state of cultivation. The East Fen Deeps are 
so perfectly drained, and so confident are the proprietors of this, 
that part of them now forms a considerable farm-yard ; but stronger 
proofs of this than mere assertion have now been had. There have 
been within the last five years several extraordinary floods and high 
tides, which have not in the smallest degree affected the works or 
low lands ; and at this moment of time, when the low lands in every 
part of the kingdom are overflowed by an ice flood, the East, West, 
and Wildmore Fens and low lands adjoining are perfectly free, and 
as ready for all agricultural purposes as the high country lands." 

Separate Acts were obtained for the enclosure of the East and 
West Fens, and for Wildmore Fen. 

In the Preamble of these Acts the area of the East Fen is '«t and west 
given as 12,424 acres, West Fen, 16,924 acres, and Wildmore 
Fen, 29,348 ; total, 59,196 acres. 

The Commissioners appointed by the Act to allot the East and 41 Geo. Hi, c 
West Fens were John Renshaw of Owthorpe, William Whitelocke 5(J Geo m c 
of Brotherton, and John Outram of Alfreton ; with Anthony Bower I2 9> l8l °- 
of Lincoln, as surveyor. Robert Millington of Gedney, William 
Thacker of Langret Ferry, and Thomas Rockliffe of Fulletby, were 
appointed as ' Quality men ' for valuing the land, and Samuel 
Tunnard of Boston, and Joseph Brackenbury of Spilsby were 
named as Clerks in the Act. 

The Commissioners were allowed by the Act £3 3s. od., and 
the 'Quality men' £1 2s. od. a day, including their expenses. 

The Commissioners were to set out such lands as they deemed 
necessary, the public carriage roads to be 40ft. wide ; and it was 
forbidden to plant trees within 50ft. of the roads ; the roads to be 
properly formed and completed by Surveyors appointed by the 
Commissioners, and the cost made part of the cost of enclosing ; 
and two years after the making of the Award these allotted roads 
were to be kept in repair by the parishes in which they were 
situated. The costs of carrying out the Act were to be covered by 
the sale by public auction of sufficient land. One-twentieth of the 
fens was to be allotted to the Crown in right of the Duchy of Lan- 
caster, as Lord of the Manor, for all rights of brovage and agistment ; 
land to the value of one-ninth part of the parochial and general 
allotments was to be allotted to the Tithe Owners in lieu of all 
tithes ; half of the remainder to the Owners of houses, toft- 
steads and lands having right of Common ; and the other half to the 
parishes of Bolingbroke, Hareby, Asgarby, Lusby, Raithby, 
Hundleby, Mavis Enderby, Spilsby, Halton Holgate, Little Steep- 
ing, Thorpe, Toynton All Saints, Toynton St. Peter's, East Real, 
West Keal, Miningsby, Revesby, East Kirkby, Hagnaby, Stick- 
ford, Stickney, Sibsey, Frith Bank, Boston East, Skirbeck, Fishtoft, 
Freiston, Butterwick, Benington, Leverton, and Leake. 



228 



WILDMORE FEN. 

41 Geo. iii, c 

141. 

42 Geo. ill, c 

108. 



FEN CHAPELS. 

50 Geo. iii, c 
129, 1S10. 

42 Geo. iii, u. 
108. 



FEN TOWNSHIPS. 

52 Geo. iii, c. 3 
1812. 



The award, after enrolment with plans, was to be deposited ' in 
the Treasury of the Mayor and Burgesses of the Borough of Boston, 
with the Records and Muniments belonging to the said Borough,' 
and another copy at the office of Clerk of the Council of the Duchy 
of Lancaster ; but in the subsequent Act the Award was directed to 
be deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for the parts of Lindsey. 
The Awards were to be open for inspection, on payment of a fee of 
one shilling, and copies supplied at the rate of fourpence per 
sheet of 72 words. 

Wildmore Fen was allotted under Acts passed in 1801 and 1802. 
The same Commissioners and Surveyor were appointed. The 
' Quality men,' or Valuers, appointed were William Porter of Freis- 
ton, John Bonner of Langton, and Stephen Morris of Dunham ; the 
Clerks appointed were Richard Clitherow of Horncastle, and 
Francis Thirkill of Boston. The same regulations as to roads and 
trees, and the sale of land for payment of expenses were enacted. The 
manorial rights of the Earl of Stamford and others were to be 
compensated by an allotment of one-twentieth of the fen ; and the 
remainder of the land to the Owners of houses and toftsteads and to 
the parishes of Horncastle, West Ashby, Thimbleby, High Toynton, 
Low Toynton, Mareham-on-the-Hill, Moorby, Wilksby, Mareham- 
le- Fen, Wood Enderby, Roughton, Haltham-upon-Bane, Coningsby, 
Dalderby, Kirkstead, Scrivelsby, Tumby, Bolingbroke, Revesby, 
Toynton All Saints, Toynton Saints Peter's, Frith Bank and 
Fishtoft. The Award was to be deposited in the parish church of 
Horncastle, and copies supplied at the rate of fourpence per sheet. 
One-ninth of the fens, after the deductions for the Fen Chapels, was 
to be allotted to the Tithe Owners in lieu of all tithes. 

Under the Enclosure Acts a fund was created for the erection 
and maintenance of ' Chapels ' and the payment of the Ministers. For 
this purpose, one-ninth part of the land alloted to the Crown for 
manorial rights in the East and West Fens, and 175 acres from 
the lands to be allotted to the Tithe Owners, and 1 56 acres out of the 
land to be alloted for parochial and general purposes ; and in Wild- 
more Fen one-ninth of tbe manorial allotment and 50 acres from the 
land awarded to the Tithe Owners, and 50 acres from that awarded 
to the General Commissioners, were to be vested in the Chancellor 
of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Lord of the 
Manor of Armtree and Wildmore, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Arch- 
deacon of Lincoln, and their successors, to be held in fee for the 
benefit of the said Chapels and their Ministers. The Chapels 
erected under the powers given in these acts are at Midville, Mount 
Pleasant, Carrington, Langrick Yille, and New Bolingbroke. 
Land, amounting to about 13,920 acres, was sold for the purpose 
of the above Acts. This, with the land allotted to the Lords of the 
Manor and for the fen Chapels, was not annexed to any parish. To 



THE 5.0O0 ACRES. 



229 

remedy this, an Act was obtained in 1812, in the preamble 
of which it is stated, that the population of these fens was rapidly 
increasing, and that it would be for the public convenience if this 
extra-parochial land were divided and constituted into seven town- 
ships. The townships formed by this Act are East Mile, containing 
2,657a. ir. i2p. ; Midville, 2501a. ir. 6p. ; Frithville, 2,716a. 3r. 37P. ; 
Carrington, 2,416 or. 13P. ; West Ville, 1,950a. 2r. 2p. ; Thornton- 
le-Fen, 1,425a. ir. 2gp. ; Langrick Ville, 1,911a. 2r. 32p. Maps 
showing the boundries of these townships were to be deposited with 
the Clerks of the Peace of Kesteven and Holland. These town- 
ships were declared to be subject to the general laws of England 
relating to constables and the relief of the poor. 

The works carried out under these Acts left the drainage of the 
low lands by Wainfleet Haven untouched, and they remained very 
insufficiently drained. 

In 1 8 14 a report was issued by Mr. Walker addressed to the w.waiker,i8i4, 
Proprietors and Occupiers of low grounds in Wainfleet All Saints, 
Thorpe, Croft, Irby and Firsby, draining through Wainfleet Haven, 
in which he advised the deepening of Wainfleet Haven, the raising and 
strengthening of the banks, removing the sluice and allowing the tide 
to have free flow up the Haven, the estimated cost being ^"3,360 ; 
or, as an alternative scheme, the erection of a steam engine where 
Thorpe engine then stood, the estimated cost of which he put at 
^"950, and the annual expense at /"200. 

Subsequently a report was obtained from Mr. Rennie, in which j. Rennie, 1818. 
he described the works he considered necessary to drain the district, 
and to carry off the high land water to Wainfleet Haven. The area of 
the district to be dealt with was 6,740 acres. 

An Act was obtained in 1818, by which the lowlands in Great 5 8 Geo. »i, c. 69, 
Steeping, Thorpe, Irby, Firsby, Bratoft, Croft and Wainfleet All 
Saints, known as ' the Five Thousand Acres,' were incorporated with 
the Fourth District. For the better protection of the East Fen ""en 
and of these low lands, the Witham General Commissioners were drainage wopks 
authorised by this Act to widen and enlarge the mill race of Little 
Steeping Mill, so that it should have 18ft. water-way; and to 
straighten and enlarge the Steeping River, through Little Steeping, 
Great Steeping and Firsby, to Firsby Clough, and thence to make a 
new Cut through Firsby, Thorpe and Wainfleet All Saints, to a point 
about one mile from Salem Bridge, the bottom width being made 
2 1 ft. Beyond this the river was to be enlarged to a 21ft. bottom ; 
the banks were to be raised 3ft., and be 2ft. wide at an average height 
of nine feet above the land ; a new Cut or back delph was to be made on 
the north-east side of the river to Wainfleet Sewer and continued 
thence through Wainfleet All Saints, Thorpe, Firsby, Great Steeping 
and Little Steeping to near Little Steeping water mill, with a 3ft. 
bottom to Wardike Drain, and 10ft. beyond Wardike, diminishing 



GiOOO ACHES 
JOINED TO EAST 



AUTHORISED. 



23fl 

to 6ft. at Firsby Clough, and beyond that to 3ft. Great Steeping 
Beck was to be enlarged, from near Little Steeping Church, 
to a 10ft. bottom at the river, diminishing to 2ft. at the 
upper end. Five brick bridges, having 24ft. water way, were to 
be erected. Firsby Little Clough was to be rebuilt, near the 
junction of the new Cut with the Little River Limb, and Firsby 
Great Clough to be rebuilt across the Steeping River with a water- 
way of 24ft ; Salem Bridge was also to be rebuilt with the same 
water way. The following drains and sewers were to be straight- 
ened, deepened and improved, and to have a bottom width, re- 
spectively, as follows : Steeping Sewer to 2ft.; Marshes Drain, Firsby 
Sewer and Mold Drain, 3ft., diminishing to 2ft.; Irby Beck, 
3ft. to ift., Bratoft Beck, or Cowcroft Drain, 12ft. to 4ft.; Little 
River Limb to the bend in Bratoft ; a new drain to be cut on the 
south side of the Limb from Irby Beck end in a westerly 
direction to the junction of the river with the new Cut ; 
a new drain on the north side of the Little River Limb 
from Irby Beck in an easterly direction to its bend in Bratoft ; 
a new drain on the west side of Lever Gate Road from 
Irby Beck end through Thorpe to where Wardyke Drain crosses 
the new Cut with a 4ft. bottom ; Wardyke Drain to be enlarged and 
deepened from Fen Bank Corner to the new Cut, and to have a 20ft. 
bottom, diminishing to 10ft. The remainder of the Wardike Drain to 
be straightened and enlarged to 6ft. diminishing to 2ft.; also Wainfleet 
Sewer from the high lands in Wainfleet All Saints to Fen Bank 
Corner ; thence to the New Cut, with 3ft. bottom, diminishing to ift. 
A new Cut was to be made from the West End of Wardike through the 
Dales to the White Cross Clough Drain, having 20ft. bottom ; also 
a drain across the Steeping River, between the church of Wainfleet 
All Saints' and White Cross Clough ; and sunken tunnels under the 
Little River Limb at Irby Beck End, with two arches, 7ft. wide by 
5ft. high ; one under the same river near Firsby Clough, 6ft. 
by 4ft. ; and one under the New Cut, where the Wardike Drain 
crosses, with three arches, each 7ft. by 5ft., and a brick carriage 
bridge over the New Drain from the west end of Wardike 
Drain to White Cross Clough Drain, with a water way of 
24ft. 

The Steeping River and the works from Steeping Mill to Salem 
Bridge, and the Wardyke Drain, from the south-west bank of the 
new Cut to White Cross Clough Drain, were to be maintained and 
supported by the General Commissioners, and all other works were 
to be considered private, or interior, works of drainage, to be main- 
tained by Commissioners, appointed by the parishes as their 
Representatives on the Board of the Fourth District, except as to 
Salem Bridge, which was to be maintained by the same parishes as 
were then liable to repair it. 



ELECTION OF 

COMMISSIONERS. 



By the 13th clause it was enacted that if the Owners and 
Occupiers of land in the Fourth District did not keep open their 
division ditches and tunnels, the Commissioners could cause the 
same to be done at the charge of the offender. 

The total estimate for the works was £28,914. The Com- 
missioners undertook to execute the whole of the works on payment 
to them of the sum of £18,627 by the owners of land in the several 
parishes liable to be flooded by the Steeping River, or otherwise 
benefited. Mr. John Burcham of Coningsby, was appointed Com- 
missioner to carry out the works. 

By the same Act the method of electing the District Com- % Geo. Hi, c. 32. 
missioners as set out in the Witham Act of 1762, was amended 
as follows : — 

The number of Commissioners was fixed at 26 ; five to 
be elected by Wildmore Fen ; eight by the West Fen ; eight by the 
East Fen and low lands in Wrangle, Friskney and Wainfleet ; five 
by the low lands in Great Steeping, Thorpe, Irby. Firsby, Bratoft, 
Croft, and Wainfleet All Saints. The latter were divided as follows, 
viz., Great Steeping and Thorpe, 2 ; Irby and Firsby, 1 ; Bratoft and 
Croft, 1 ; Wainfleet All Saints, 1 . Every Owner of ten acres and 
Occupier of 50 acres, chargable with taxes to the Fourth District, to 
have one vote ; the qualification for a Commissioner being the owner- 
ship of 20 acres or the occupation of 100 acres. Owners were to be 
allowed to appoint deputies to vote for them. 

The satisfactory condition of the drainage, as described by Mr. 
Bower in 18 14, did not remain permanent. Two causes conduced FtNion.iN.GE, 
to the alteration. By the complete drainage of the spongy soil of 
the East Fen, and its consolidation by working, the surface gradually 
subsided from one to two feet. Also the channel of the Outfall from 
Hobhole to Clayhole became raised from its former level by the 
deposit of silt, owing to the neglect of proper training works. To 
such an extent did this occur that the low water level of spring tides, 
which, at the time of the erection of Hobhole Sluice, stood only 2ft. 
on the sill, became raised to six and seven feet, and in times of flood 
as much as eight and even ten feet ; so that, owing to the subsi- 
dence of the land on the one hand and the deterioration of the Out- 
fall on the other, the good effects originally felt by this drainage 
were in a great measure neutralised, and in wet seasons the low 
lands were liable to be flooded and the crops destroyed. 

In the winter of 1866 a long continued and heavy downfall of 
rain clearly demonstrated the system of drainage to be inadequate 
to the discharge of the water. A very large area of land in the 
East Fen was for many weeks completely under water. Viewed 
from Keal Hill, the level was described as having the appearance of 
one extensive lake, the course of the drains being indistinguishable 
from the submerged lands. Occupiers, in some cases, had even to 



DEFECTIVE CON- 
DITION OF THE 



I 8 66 



232 

use boats to pass from one part of their farms to another, and the 
roots stored in the fields were rendered quite inaccessible. 

«i«> pu*n>G In 1861 Sir John Hawshaw was applied to by the General 

feu. Commissioners to advise them on the drainage of this district, and 

Hawkshaw,iS6i requested to devise a plan for improving the drainage of the Fourth 
District, as well as an alternative scheme, which, while improving 
this particular tract of land, would also be more general in its 
application. In 1S65 Mr. Welsh, the Surveyor to the Commis- 
sioners, was also directed to report to them on the drainage of the 
Fourth District. In these reports it is stated that the Fourth 
District, including the East, West, and Wildmore Fens, and the Five 
Thousand Acres, has a taxable area of 57,200 acres ; and the lands 
north of Steeping River, of 5,000 acres ; but the area drained is about 
9,000 acres ; that the Northern portion of the East Fen lies at a 
lower level, by about 3ft., than the West and Wildmore Fens ; that 
about 25,000 acres of land in the East Fen, and 15,000 in the West 
and Wildmore Fens, are below the ordinary flood level ; and that while 
the larger portion of the West and Wildmore Fens, and the land 
draining into Hobhole Drain below Lade Bank, are comparatively 
uninjured by the water in the drains rising to eleven feet above the 
sill of Hobhole Sluice, a considerable portion of the East Fen lying 
to the north of Lade Bank, when the water rose that height, was 
incapable of being drained by gravitation to Hobhole ; that the 
portion of the East Fen, including lands draining into it, which 
extends north of Lade Bank, amounts to about 30,000 acres, one- 
half of which lies at so low a level as to require for its effectual 
drainage that the water at Hobhole should not rise higher than 
about seven feet above the sill, whereas that level was one foot below 
low water of the Witham outside of Hobhole Sluice in times of 
flood, which then rose to eight feet above the sill, and for this reason 
these low lands could not on those occasions drain naturally by 
Hobhole. 

The general scheme for improving the Outfall, recommended 
by Sir John Hawkshaw, is dealt with fully in another chapter ; it is 
not necessary, therefore, to make further allusion to it here. The 
local plan he advised was the placing of draw doors across Hobhole 
Drain, near Lade Bank Bridge, and the erection of pumping engines of 
180 horse-power at that spot, to lift the flood waters from the 
northern to the southern side of the doors ; the maximum of the lift 
being assumed at 5ft., and the extreme effect on the drain below the 
doors — the raising of the water during the time the sea doors were 
shut by the tides — i8in. The estimated cost was ^"15,000 
for engines, pumps, draw-doors, land and works, and ^"3,000 for 
parliamentary expenses, &c. The annual outlay for interest and 
repayment of principal money borrowed, spread over 35 years, was 
taken at ^1,350, and for working expenses and maintenance ^1,250 ; 



233 

together, £"2,600, equal to a tax of about elevenpence per acre over 
the whole district for the first 35 years, and of fivepence afterwards. 
This scheme was considered at a meeting of the Commissioners 
held in July, 1S61, and it was then resolved : — 1. That a general 
plan improving all drainage is preferable to a local one ; and also 
that a natural .drainage is preferable to an artificial one. 2. That 
the Fourth District ought not to pay towards the general plan a 
sum larger than it would have to expend for its own local drainage. 
3. That if the benefit is, as anticipated, distributed to all the lands 
in the Fourth District, all the lands should pay according to the 
actual benefit received (the rate to be left to arbitration, the 
maximum being fixed at three shillings, and the minimum at four- 
pence, per acre). . . . 10. That it would be desirable first to 
attempt to carry out the general plan. 1 1 . That in the event of 
the other parties interested not being able or willing to carry out 
their share of the expenses of the general plan, then it would be ex- 
pedient to have recourse to the local plan of draining the district 
by steam power. 

Mr. Welsh, in his report, recommended as an amendment on Welsh's Report, 

1&65. 
Sir John Hawkshaw's plan, that the waters from the lands north 

of Steeping River which, in his opinion, possessed ample elevation 

for drainage by gravitation, should be prevented from flowing to 

the proposed pumps at Lade Bank by stopping the Bellwater Drain 

where the railway crosses it, and conveying the water by a new 

cut to Fountain's Sewer, and thence to Hobhole Drain ; Fountain's 

Sewer being enlarged . The high land sewer to run along Wrangle 

Bank and Wrangle Common and discharge through the Upright 

and Holland Sewers into Lade Bank Drain, which was also to be 

diverted into Fountain's Sewer. This would have reduced the area 

to be pumped to 25,000 acres. 

Mr. David Martin, also, in a pamphlet addressed to the Com- d. Martin. 1867. 
missioners. pointed out that the fen was pretty well drained before 
the Steeping District was added, since when, the East Fen had been 
subject to being flooded by the water from this district, which, 
coming from land at a greater elevation, over-rode all the water in 
the drains, so that the fen had became a pool for the reception of 
this high land water. He therefore recommended that Bellwater 
Drain should be made a catchwater for conveying these high land 
waters to the sea, and that a new drain should be cut on the west 
side of Hobhole Drain, from Fodder Dyke Drain to Bardolph Drain, 
with other alterations in the arrangement of the several sewers, so 
that the waters from the lower part of the East Fen might be con- 
veyed to an engine to be erected on the west bank of "Hobhole, 
about half way between Fodder Dyke and Bardolph. 

By carrying out the scheme suggested by Mr. Martin, the 
engines might have been of much less power, and, having less 



STEAM DRAINAGE. 



234 

work to do, an annual saving in working expenses might have been 
effected ; but then, on the other hand, it was deemed that the in- 
creased outlay in the purchase of land, and the annual interest, would 
make the result in the end nearly the same. Sir John Hawkshaw's 
plan was therefore carried out as originally devised. 

In 1866, the Commissioners, despairing of any general scheme 
being carried out, decided on applying to Parliament for the necessary 
powers to enable them to erect a pumping engine at Lade Bank, for 
the relief of the East Fen north of that point ; and for the better 
drainage of the West and Wildmore Fens, the removal of the 
restriction placed on the stop-doors at Cowbridge, so that the water 
should be allowed to run freely out of the West Fen Drain, by New- 
dyke or Junction Drain to Hobhole. They also decided to apply for 
power to raise the sum of ^20,000 on mortgage to pay for the 
works, and to levy a tax, not exceeding sixpence per acre, on the land, 
in addition to the two shillings on the West and Wildmore Fens, 
and one shilling on the East Fen, already sanctioned by former Acts 
(except on the Five Thousand Acres District). 
oppositioh to This course did not meet with general approval. At a public 

meeting held at the Guild Hall, in Boston, the following resolution 
was passed, viz., " That this Meeting views with considerable alarm 
the introduction into Parliament of a Bill to provide additional means 
for draining the Fourth District of the Witham Drainage and deter- 
mines to oppose it, as being inequitable and inefficient. Inequitable, 
inasmuch as it proposes to lay an equal and uniform tax upon lands 
that must be benefitted, upon lands that do not require, and cannot 
receive benefit, and upon lands that may possibly be seriously 
injured ; and inefficient, because it brings into immediate conflict the 
waters of the East and West Fens ; does not provide for the per- 
manent working of the steam engines to be erected ; and does 
nothing to improve the great Outfall of the district." 

The Boston Harbour Commissioners, having had before them, 
the plan prepared by their Engineer, Mr. Wheeler, for training and 
improving the outfall from Hobhole to Clayhole, at an estimated 
cost of ^"20,000, endeavoured to get the Drainage Commissioners 
to join with them in carrying out this scheme and to try its effect 
before erecting the pumping engines ; and, being supported by Mr. 
Abernethy, who had been called in to report on the feasability of the 
scheme, opposed the Bill of the Fourth District in Parliament ■ but 
in this they were not successful, it being alleged by the Promoters 
that no definite offer to carry out this or any other Outfall scheme 
had been made by the Harbour Authorities to the Drainage Com- 
missioners. To remove this objection, before the Bill went into the 
Upper House, resolutions to the following effect were passed, and 
sent to the Witham Commissioners :— (1) That the Scheme' pro- 
pounded by Mr. Wheeler, as laid before the Committee of the House 



235 

of Lords and supported by Mr. Abernethy, can be successfully 

carried out for £"20,000. (2) That the Drainage Commissioners be 

asked to confer with the Corporation as to the means for carrying 

out this scheme, which will be efficient for the double purpose of 

Drainage and Navigation ; that the cost of carrying out such 

scheme be borne by the lands beneficially affected and by 

the navigation ; that the necessary powers be applied for in the 

following Session, and that in the meantime the pumping scheme be 

suspended. The Drainage Commissioners would not consent to 

this, but the Bill was not further opposed. 

The Act known as the Wit ham Drainage (Fourth District) steak 

Act, received the Royal Assent on the 15th July, 1867. The Act ^"nd*" vfct., 

gives the powers necessary for earring out the works above described l867 ' 

and for borrowing ^20,000, which was to be repaid within 35 years 

after the passing of the Act. 

Under the Act of 1818 there are 26 District Commissioners, 43 Geo. m, c. 

118 
elected in four separate portions, by the four sub-divisions of the 

District and, under the original Witham Act of 1762, the District 2 Geo. 111, u. 32. 
Commissioners elected eight of these to be General Commissioners. 
By that Act these were not obliged to be Fourth District 
Commissioners, but as the lands in the East Fen were lower than 
those in the West and YVildmore Fen and as it was desirable that 
the engines to be erected should be under the care of the East Fen 
General Commissioners, and also that the stop-gates at Cowbridge 
should be under the care of West and Wildmore Fen General Commis- 
sioners, it was provided that four of the eight Commissioners should 
be elected for the East Fen, two for the West Fen, and two for 
Wildmore Fen. This clause was, however, repealed in the Act ob- 
tained in 1885, by which the Hobhole Drain, steam engines, 48 and 49 vict., 
and works mentioned in that section, and the working thereof, were, 0.158,1885. 
by this Act, vested in the General Commissioners, and placed 
under the care of a Committee of five General Commissioners, of 
whom two are to be East Fen, one West Fen, and one Wildmore Fen 
General Commissioners, and one a General Commissioner, not 
elected for the Fourth District. 

The new Pumping Station is situated on the west side of Hob- 
hole Drain, at Lade Bank, on lands formerly belonging to Hunston's 
Charity, and was erected under the direction of Sir John Hawk- 
shaw, by Messrs. Easton and Amos of London, Mr. H. C. 
Anderson acting as their resident Engineer. 

A full description of the pumps will be found in the Chapter on 
the Drainage System. The amount borrowed for this work was 
;£ 18,000, bearing interest at five per cent. 

The benefit to the occupiers of land in the East Fen from these 

■*- EFFECT OF 

works was very considerable ; the payment of the small additional pumping. 
tax of sixpence per acre required towards the expenses of working 



236 

the engines, and the repayment of the money borrowed, bore no 
comparison to the annual loss sustained by the destruction of crops 
from the constant flooding to which this fen had been subject, 
especially during the succession of wet seasons which followed a few 
years after the engines were erected. The passing of the West Fen 
waters, also, by way of Hobhole Drain, greatly facilitates the dis- 
charge of the drainage from the West Fen. 

While, however, the pumps afforded a very large amount of 
relief and placed the drainage of this district in comparative safety, 
it continued still liable to flooding from the defective condition of the 
Outfall, below Hobhole Sluice, the contracted area of the sluice, and 
the condition of the banks of the Steeping River. Hobhole Drain 
became incapable of discharging efficiently the large quantity of 
water thrown by the pumps off the low land into it, below the stop- 
doors at Lade Bank, and also that coming from the West and Wild- 
more Fens. On several occasions, especially in December, 1868, 
April, 1872, November, 1875, November, 1878 and September, 1880, 
the pumps had to cease working, owing to the water being as high as 
the top of the stop-doors, and some of the lowest land was flooded. 
It was impossible that this condition could be remedied until 
the Outfall of the river was placed in an efficient condition. 
w.th.koutf.ll. In 1 88o, the River Witham Outfall Improvement Act was 

43 and 44 via., passed, under the powers of which the Fourth District was to con- 
tribute towards the construction and maintenance of the new Outfall 
in proportion to the number of acres in the district, as compared to 
the whole contributing area. The Fourth District Commissioners 
were not to be liable for any works above Hobhole Sluice. They 
were authorised to borrow ^49,000, to be repaid by instalments, 
extending over 35 years from the 6th April, 1881. And they were 
authorised to raise an annual tax, not exceeding one shilling per 
acre, for repayment of the money borrowed, and of fourpence for main- 
tenance of the works. Certain lands in Boston, Skirbeck, Fishtoft, 
Freiston and Sibsey were added to the Fourth District for the 
purposes of this Act, and rendered liable to the Outfall Taxes. 

The New Cut was opened in 1884, the bed of the Channel being 
made 3ft. below the sill of Hobhole Sluice. A full description of 
this work will be found in Chapter XII, on the Harbour, and 
Outfall of the river. 

The advantage to the drainage of the East Fen was greater than 
had been anticipated. Previous to the opening of the Cut, the water 
never ebbed out lower than 4ft. on the sill of Hobhole Sluice, and 
in times of flood it did not ebb out below 7ft. or 8ft. on the sill. Sir 
John Hawkshaw put the gain at 2ft., but it has been found to be as 
Report on much as 5ft. 6in., and the water has at times ebbed out ift. 6in. 
j°^vraSni, below the sill of the sluice. 

1887- xhe amount contributed by the Fourth District to the Outfall 



ENLARGEMENT 

OF HOBHOLE 

SLUICE. 



STEEPINO RIVER . 



237 

works was £"41,119, which was met by two loans of £28,000 and 
of £"21,000, bearing interest at the rate of 4^ and 4J per cent. 

In 1887 a further Act was obtained, — Wit ham Drainage (Hobhole 
Sluice) Act, 1887, — authorising the widening and improving of Hob- 
hole Sluice, and the construction of a new opening, 15ft. in width, 5 ° c an jo 4 5I i8S7 Ct 
making four openings, equal to a waterway of 60ft., the sill being 
three feet below the old sill. The new opening was constructed on 
the west side of the existing sluice. The cost of the work was 
£"5,905, of which £"1,122 was for the cost of obtaining the Act, 
£"4,486 for works, and £"296 for Engineer's and other charges. The 
amount was paid for out of the £"49,000 loan raised for this and the 
Outfall purposes. 

Provision was made in this Act for facilitating the collect- 
ion of the taxes and making the payment of them due on certain 
fixed days, at Spilsby, Horncastle, Wainfleet or Boston, after notice 
given by advertisement. The place of meeting for the Commis- 
sioners of the Fourth District for the purpose of electing General 
Commissioners, named in the Act of 1762 as Spilsby, was changed 
to Boston. 

The defective condition of the Steeping River and its Outfall at 
Wainfleet remained a constant source of anxiety. The water coming 
down very rapidly from the high land, and being unable to get 
away with sufficient velocity, owing to the defective condition of the 
channel and of theputfall at Wainfleet, rose to the level of the top of 
the banks in times of heavy rain. On no less than three occasions 
after the erection of the Lade Bank engines, the water overflowed 
the banks and inundated the low land in the fen. Steeping River 
had been much improved by the works executed under the Act of 
1 81 8, as already described, but the altered conditions of drainage 
rendered further works necessary. A statement was issued by the 
Commissioners to the Ratepayers, showing that further works were 
necessary for the purpose of diminishing the risk of breakage and 
injury to the banks on both sides of the river, for the maintenance 
of which the Commissioners were liable, and the consequent flood- 
ing of the East Fen and Five Thousand Acre District ; for 
diminishing the quantity of flood water going to the Lade Bank 
engines and for diverting the same to an improved outfall for 
Steeping River ; also for improving the fresh water supply to the 
fens. 

A report was made to the Commissioners by Mr. Williams, 
stating that the outfall channel from Salem Bridge was very 
circuitous, its length, at average low water at Gibraltar point, being 
nearly 7 miles, whereas the distance in a direct line is only 4 miles. 
The water was prevented from getting freely away owing to the 
restricted condition of Wainfleet stanch, which was only 1 6ft. wide. 
The sea sluice, which was about 4J miles below Salem Bridge, had 



STEEPING RIVER 
ACT. 

48 and 49 Vict. 



238 

two openings, 12ft. 2in. and 5ft. gin. wide. The fall from Salem 
Bridge to the sea sluice was at the rate of i2in. a mile. He advised 
the cutting off of the worst bends of the river, and shortening the 
course 1 mile 12 chains, and enlarging it, so as to give 15ft. at the 
bottom ; the erection of a new stanch with 50ft. opening ; the 
construction of an additional opening of 15ft. to the existing sluice ; 
and' the improvement of the channel below the sluice, for a distance 
of ij miles. The estimated cost of these works was £19,425. It 
was anticipated that these works would affect a depression of 2ft. 
in the flood level above Salem Bridge. 

The Commissioners applied to Parliament for further powers 
to enable them to carry out this work, and in 1885 the Steeping 
c 158, 1885. River Act was obtained, authorising the straightening and widen- 
ing of Steeping River and YVainfleet Haven, from Salem Bridge to 
low water in the Outfall channel, seaward of the Burgh Sluice 
recently erected ; and the construction of a new stanch and a new 
Outfall sluice with a 12ft. opening to the south of the old sluice, which 
remained available as a flood channel. The old stanch was re- 
moved, and a new one built, near Croft Station, a mile east of the 
old one, with two draw doors, each of 12ft. 6in. opening. The sluice 
and stanch were built by Mr. S. Sherwin of Boston, at a cost of 

about £3,300. The total cost of the works was — ■ 

f =,. d. 
Parliamentary, Legal and Engineering costs 

in obtaining the Act ... .. ... 3,450 12 6 

Land and Legal costs... ... ... ... 1,947 J 7 I 

Works 9,830 10 7 

£"15,449 o 2 

To meet this, £"15,000 was borrowed, bearing interest at 4 J per 
cent., and repayable by annual instalments in 35 years, from the 6th 
April, 1885. To meet the interest on this sum, a tax, not exceeding 
sixpence per acre on the Fourth District and the Five Thousand Acres, 
was authorised ; and lands in the parishes of Great Steeping, Irby, 
Firsby, Bratoft, Croft, YVainfleet All Saints, YVainfleet St. Mary, 
Stickford and Sibsey were added to the Fourth District for the 
purposes of this Act only. The Commissioners of Sewers were 
authorised to contribute yearly one-fourth of the expense of main- 
taining the channel in the tideway below Burgh Sluice. 

The amounts annually raised and expended for Fourth District 
purposes are, on an average, as follows : — - 

Receipts. £ 

General Tax, at 1/6 per acre ... ... ... 4,631 

Foreland Rents ... ... ... ... ... 757 

Fines and Sundries ... ... ... ... IO 

£"5.398 



RECEIPTS AND 
EXPENDITURE. 



239 

Payintnls. £ 
Interest and Repayment by instalments of Loan 

for Lade Bank engines ... ... ... 1,224 

Management ... ... ... ... ... 642 

Sluicekeeper's Wages ... ... ... ... 64 

Roding drains and repairs ... ... ... .. 1.635 

Lade Bank Engine ... ... ... ... 674 



^4.239 



Showing a surplus of income of ;£"i, 159. This annual surplus 
has since increased, the interest on the loan decreasing as the 
instalments are paid off. The cost of the Lade Bank engines has also 
been less during the late dry seasons, and also from the improve- 
ment of the Outfall. On the other hand, the Foreland rents have 
fallen off. The surplus income was for some time applied to paying 
off a debt due to the Treasurer, which had increased yearly from 
1880, till it amounted to ^5,031, since when it diminished until 
1888, when it was cleared off. The balance in the Treasurer's hands 
on the 30th June, 1894, stood at ^"7,404. 53 half-yearly instalments 
had been paid off the loan for Lade Bank engine in June, 1894, ar >d 
the whole will be paid off in 1902. 

The instalments of repayment of the loans of ^"28,000 and 
^"29,000, borrowed in 1SS1 and 1SS3, to pay the contributions of the 
Fourth District towards the Outfall, and for the enlargement of 
Hobhole sluice, will terminate in 19 16. The interest on the first 
loan is 4J per cent, and on the second 4J per cent. The Precepts 
paid to the Outfall Board amounted to /"41,11s 19s. 4d., and there 
was spent on the Hobhole Improvement ^5,919 14s. od. Parliamen- 
tary Expenses absorbed ^"1,51513. iod., leaving a balance in hand 
of ^"1,446 4s. iod. The interest and repayment of principal take ^2,764 
yearly which in 1892 required a rate of about tenpence an acre, 
which was reduced to sixpence in 1893. The ordinary contributions 
towards maintenance are covered by a rate of about twopence an acre, 
which raises ^593, butthere appears to have been some extraord- 
inary charges which have required a rate of fourpence an acre. No 
rate was laid in 1S94 and there was then a balance oi £ r jio in the 
Treasurer's hands. 

The Steeping River Improvement Loan of ,£"15,000 requires 
about ^815 a year for interest and repayment of principal, which, 
however, decreases annually. This is covered by a rate of sixpence 
an acre, producing ^"Sio. The repayments on this loan will expire 
in 1920. 

The main drains in the district are under the charge of the 
General Commissioners. The engines at Lade Bank and Houhole 
Drain are under the charge of a special Committee, elected by the 
General Commissioners. 



SYSTEM OF 
MANAGEMENT 



240 



INTERIOR DIS 
TRICT. 



DESCRIPTION OF 
THE DISTRICT. 



The interior drains are under the management of the 26 Fourth 
District Interior Commissioners, elected in the manner set out in the 
Act of 1818. The tax levied for interior purposes is about fivepence 
per acre for the East Fen, and fourpence for the West and Wildmore 
Fens. A forfeit for non-payment of the taxes at the time named in 
the annual advertisement is imposed, amounting to one shilling for 
ten shillings and under, two shillings above ten shillings and so on in 
proportion for any greater or less sum than twenty shillings. The 
amount raised by taxation for the Interior District, in 1892-3, was 
£"1,124 ; maintenance of works cost £"742 ; management £"366. 
Total £"1,108. 

The Fifth District. — This district lies on the south side of 
the Witham, to the north of Kyme Eau, and contains 5,176 acres. It 
comprises the low lands in Anwick, North Kyme, Ruskington, 
a Geo. m, c 32. Dorrington and Digby, and is described in the act of 1762 as being 
bounded by Digby Old Skirth Dyke and the dyke which is the 
eastern boundary of the adjoining close, and that part of Digby 
Engine Drain which extends from the said dyke to the engine, 
Billinghay Skirth, and Billinghay Dales, on the north and east ; 
Kyme Eau on the south ; the high lands of Anwick, Ruskington, 
Dorrington and Digby and the Car Dyke on the west. It elects 
one District Commissioner for each of the parishes and places 
named, and these elect two Representatives on the Witham General 
Drainage Trust. The mode of Election and the qualification of 
Voters is the same as described in the First District. It is divided 
into four Levels, each having a separate Act of Parliament, viz., 
North Kyme Fen ; Ruskington, Dorrington and North Kyme ; 
Anwick and North Kyme Praie Grounds; and the Digby Drainage 
District. The land is low, and depends almost entirely on pumping 
for its drainage. 

South Kyme Low Grounds, which lies within this district, 
drains by Damford Tunnel, which passes under Kyme Eau into the 
Merry Lands, in the Second District, and thence by Gill Syke to the 
North Forty- Foot. It does not pay drainage rates to the Second 
District. 

Anwick Fen.— This Fen was enclosed under an Act obtained 

31 Geo. ui, c 93, in *79 J > / or dividing and enclosing the open common fields, meadow 

ground, half-year land, common fens, and waste lands in the parish of 

Anwick, and for embanking aid draining the fens and enclosed lands called 

' tlie Praie Grounds ' in tlte township of North Kyme. 

The District is managed by three Commissioners, elected every 
three years by the Proprietors of not less that 50 acres. Their 
duties are to maintain the works, consisting of the banks surround- 
ing the district, the engine drains and the engine. The ordinary 
rate is not to exceed 1/- an acre, but, with the consent of the Pro- 
prietors, the amount is unlimited, 



241 

Mr. Clarke, in his history of the Agriculture of Lincolnshire, Clarke, 
says, that there were formerly in this district many windmills of joimud, "1&47. 
Dutch construction ; the Fens having been drained by the Flemings, 
more than a century before the drainage of Anwick Fen. Part of the 
north of the fen drained into Billinghay Dales, and the rest by 
windmills into Billinghay Skirth. He states that before the in- 
closure the whole rental of Anwick Fen was ^54 ; after the 
enclosure it rose to £"703. 

RUSKINGTON, DoRRINGTON AND NORTH KyME. — This District '"closure and 

DRAINAGE ACT. 

was formed under the powers of an Act obtained in 1832, entitled, 2a nd 3 wni.iv. 

an Act for inclosing, draining and embanking lands within the 

parishes of Riiskington and Dorrington, and the Hamlet of North 

Kyme. The lands enclosed were described in the Act as being 

subject to be overflowed with water, for want of proper banks, drains, 

and outfalls ; and as including the Common Fen, the North Fen, 

the Pringle and Kyme Pits, containing 462 acres ; and inclosed low 

lands, containing 819 acres. The North Fen and Pringle had been 

excluded from the Inclosure Act for the parish of Dorrington, passed 

in 1787. The ' low lands ' had been inclosed under the powers of 

an Inclosure Act for the parish of Ruskington, passed in 1778. 

The District is bounded on the south by Digby and Billinghay 
and the Sleaford and Tattershall roads ; on the west, by the high 
lands in Anwick, Ruskington and Dorrington ; on the north, by 
Digby Drainage District, Billinghay and North Kyme Praie 
Grounds ; and on the east, by Billinghay Dales. Under the Act 
Thomas Greetham of Fiskerton was appointed sole Commissioner 
and his remuneration was fixed at £■>, 3s. od. a day, and £2 2s. od. 
at the end of three years. The Surveyor was to be allowed eighteen- 
pence an acre for surveying and mapping, and £2 2s. od. per day, 
consisting of eight hours between March and October, and six hours 
for the remainder of the year. The Commissioner was empowered 
to stop up and divert old, and to make new, roads ; to scour out, 
enlarge, improve and embank any ancient drains ; to make the drain 
adjoining Digby township 35ft. wide and 5ft. deep ; to make new 
bridges, cloughs, windmills and engines as he should think needful. If 
Proprietors neglect to clean out drains or repair banks, bridges, &c, 
as directed in th3 Award, the Trustees are given power to do the 
same, after 14 days notice, and charge the defaulter with costs. 
Power was given to borrow £"4,000. The herbage of the banks, 
roads, and waste lands was to be let by the Trustees for- grazing 
sheep for three years, to the best bidder, and the proceeds applied to 
the drainage and repair of roads. The Award was to be deposited in 
a chest in the parish church of Ruskington. 

After the Commissioner had completed his work, five Trustees 
were to be appointed ; two elected by Ruskington, by Proprietors 
holding 15 acres; two for Dorrrington; and one for North Kyme, by 



242 



PUMPING 
MACHINERY. 



BREACH OF BANK. 



RATES ANO 
EXPENDITURE. 



BOUHDART. 



FORMATION OF 
DRAINAGE DIS- 
TRICT. 



Proprietors holding 10 acres. They remain in office for three years. 
Meetings for election were directed to be held in the respective 
vestries of the churches of Ruskington, Dorrington and South Kyme, 
after public notice fixed on the church doors, and also by advertise- 
ment in a newspaper circulating in the County of Lincoln, three 
to form a quorum, and agents to have power to vote ; meetings for 
laying rates to be held within eight miles of the parishes. If rates 
be not paid, power to distrain after 21 days' notice was given. A 
penalty oi £10 was imposed on persons found guilty of opening the 
cloughs and letting off water, and persons proved to have destroyed 
any of the works were to be deemed guilty of felony. By the Act 
of 1778 an Engineer was to be annually appointed to take care 
of the engine and drains, at a vestry to be held on Easter 
Tuesday. 

This fen is drained by a steam engine of 16 X.H.P., working a 
centrifugal pump, situated about a quarter of a mile west of 
North Kyme Causeway, the water being discharged into Billinghay 
Skirth. The area drained by the engine is about 1,300 acres. This 
engine was erected in 1854, at a cost of ^"1,440. 

In 1S80 the bank which protects the fen was broken during a 
high flood and the land inundated. 

The amount of taxation is not to exceed ^"350 annually, without 
the consent of the Owners. The amount laid used to average 5/6 
an acre, but has recently been 4'-. 

According to the Government taxation return for 1892-3, the 
amount raised by taxation was /304, and from other sources ^"SS, 
making ^"392. The cost of maintaining the works was £239, 
management, &c. £bb ; total ^"305 There is no outstanding loan. 

Digby Drainage District. — This comprises Digby Fen, the 
Pry Closes, Walcot Common and other low fenland in the parishes 
of Billinghay, Walcot and Timberland Thorpe, and contains about 
1,440 acres. Digby Fen had been previously embanked and was 
drained by an engine and scoop wheel. The other part of the District, 
being low and unembanked, was constantly flooded. 

In 1871 this level was formed into a separate Drainage District, 
under the Land Drainage Act of 1861, the engine and wheel bein^ 
purchased from the owner. 

A scheme for improving the drainage was prepared by the 
Author, and under his direction the Scopwick Beck was deepened 
and straightened, and the water carried to the existing scoop wheel. 
The Grange Drain, skirting the high land on the north side, was 
improved and converted into a catchwater drain, and continued 
eastward to the end of the District, so as to discharge its water clear 
of the fen. The engine is of 14 X.H.P., and the scoop wheel 24ft in 
diameter and ift. wide. The wheel makes 6* revolutions per 
minute, and the engine 40. The lift in floods is from 5ft. to 6ft 



EXPENDITURE. 



2+3 

From the Government Taxation Returns for 1892-3, the amount r.tes a~ 
raised by rate was £2.7.1, and by special rate payable by Owners, 
^"376; making, with ^"13 from other sources, ^610. Maintenance of 
the engine and works cost ^135, Interest on loan ^151, Instalment 
of principal repaid ^22S, Management £jj ; Total ^591. The 
amount of loan then outstanding was ^2,966. 

The Sixth District. — This District is on the south side of the 
Witham, and lies to the west of Holland Fen. It contains 11,584 
acres, sends three Commissioners to the Witham General Drainage 
Trust, and pays a tax of 6d. per acre to the Witham Commis- 
sioners. 

The Outfall of the drainage of this District is the South Forty- 
Foot, and the land was included in the Black Sluice Level under 
the Act of 1765, and will therefore be described in the Chapter on 
the Black Sluice. 



244 



T 



BOUNDARY. 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Black Sluice District. 

' H E district included in the above heading is all that area of 
land which pays taxes to the Black Sluice Commissioners ; 
consisting of the Sixth and Second Witham Districts, including 
Holland Fen, and what Dugdale calls the Lindsey Level. It is 
bounded on the north by Kyme Eau ; on the east by the River 
Witham and the town of Boston ; on the south and east by the old 
Fig. io. Hammond Beck, the Glen, and Bourne Eau ; and on the west by 
the Car Dyke, which passes near to Bourne, Rippingale, Billing- 
borough, Horbling, Helpringham, and Heckington. The taxable 
area is 64,854 acres, but the total quantity of land which discharges 
its water into the Witham, through the Black Sluice, is about 
*34>35i acres. 

The outlet for the drainage of this District is at the Black 
Sluice, in Skirbeck Quarter. The main drain is the South Forty 
Foot, which runs through the centre of the fen, and is 21 miles in 
length, receiving throughout its course the contents of about 30 
other drains, the principal of which are the North Forty Foot, the 
Clay Dyke and the Old and New Hammond Becks. 
second ano The principal part of the northern portion of this District, 

SIXTH WITHAM . 

district. consisting of Holland Fen and the lands in the Sixth District, 
originally drained to the Witham by means of Kyme Eau and Gill 
Syke, which discharged at a sluice at Langrick. Subsequently, 
after the North Forty Foot Drain was cut, a portion of the drainage 
was discharged by it at Lodowick's Gowt, which was situated 
about a third of a mile to the west of the present Grand Sluice, 
the old course of the River Witham passing in that direction. 

Owing to the defective condition of the channel and banks of 
the Witham, this District was continually flooded from the river. 

When the Witham was straightened and improved in the last 
century, and the flood water banked out from Holland Fen, the 
Second and the Sixth Districts were included in the area of taxation 
liable for payment of taxes levied to meet the cost of improve- 
ment, and consequently these two Districts send representatives to 
the Witham Commission. The drainage was subsequently diverted 
and is now all discharged into the Black Sluice System by means of 



Fig. 6. 






Annzcik. 
fin, 



JLv»- GObtard 






*\ 



V 1 



Hctperhvv 
Priory 



(LeAre* , 
* WmOv . 












JLVAroBD +Afi&tby 



*"#€ 



*i&*ti»i>>f\/ Great „., 












JLnfona €ow£ 



\-Z*BO$T07f 



-tBurlxm Podwardir 



AM 



sJHuvt " 



wv tfuSOi ... 

_2n32U>ti tr < i Wvi ^MC^SLi 7f„- , , 



Jretv , 



+5>pa.n 



I l$ymuborv^'en>^!^S> 



Bicker- 
*JJa*uvttct 



VKimftorV- 



'■'ZxVCornArT 



ttcjcer 






vlla 94 






•>oj< 



tFramphm. 



vHorblinl 



in< 







^utterbcii -v 10-6 
♦Alg-orlc r* 



Mi 













tfatfitet^r* 









'Hanttiotpe.jrfori 









jBowrteXorlhjf 



JSOVKNS 



12 — 

J"en/ 



Cote 
jSeuth Ian/ 



rTonqy 
JBrufye 



T'odeHofc. 



FiruihW 



l*SPALPHfG 



TiTfafr 



-^ 



>»^>^ 



Ten/ 
Thvrtby 



i£i±JL 



jScetZe'. 

-3, Si ■»! 



~Rjuj Mtxre.lv 



MTOUZ, T 03T 
MA.IljS'Jf 



BLACK SLUICE LEVEL 

AND 

KIRTON HUNDRED 

TumputgjSttu&orvs shown, 8iua • 

JSourv3-arjrofJix6tTicts -_._« 

The> Figured 10-1 %a. Aow the, Tuight of 



^i^fiZ&i. 



ave, land above- mean, sea level in feet. 



Fig. io. 



SECOND AND 

SIXTH WITHAN 

DISTRICT. 



Fig. 6. 



DISAFFOREST- 
120T. 



MS 

the South Forty Foot ; and these two Witham Districts now form 
part of the Black Sluice System, and pay taxes to it, as well as to 
the Witham. 

The southern portion of the District, formerly known as the undsm level 
Lindsey Level, consists of a long narrow tract of land, lying between 
the Cardyke and the high land on the west, and the Hammond 
B eck on the east, and extends up to Bourne. This was originally 
the site of a mere into which a number of high land streams poured 
their contents. The ove rfiow from this mere drained away to the 
Glen by means of the old watercourse, called the Beche ; or to the 
Witham by the Hammond Beck. 

The early history of the District will be found in the Chapter 
on North Holland. 

Besides the ancient sewers, several new drains have been cut 
from time to time, the largest of which, the ' Mid Fen Dyke,' formed 
the boundary between Holland and Kesteven, and followed the 
course of the present South Forty-foot Drain from Gutherham Cote 
as far as the bend at Swineshead ; it then continued along ' Barkes- 
mere ' and Holland Dyke to Kyme Eau. 

In the thirteenth century, Richard I made an order freeing the 
inhabitants of this part of Lincolnshire from all duties relating to AT1 ° 
forest customs and the preservation of wild animals, with leave to 
make banks and ditches, and to enclose the lands and marshes ; and 
also to build houses and exercise tillage as they should think fit. 

The disafforestation order related to lands, marshes, and tur- 
baries. The only trees which grew in this fen district were sallows, 
willows and alders, which in places formed low thickets. The land 
generally was covered with rushes, reeds and clumps of sedge. To 
this solitary waste, deer and game and abundance of wild fowl 
resorted. The boundary, as described in the King's order, was " in 
length on the one side, from Swaston to East Deping as Kars did 
extend itself . . . and in length on the other side towards Holand from 
the bridge at Byker to the great bridge at Spalding. In breadth on 
the one part from that great bridge to East Deping, and on the other 
side from the land of Swastune unto the bridge at Byker." 

In the reign of Henry III a precept was directed to the Shire- 
reeve of the county, touching the partition of Haut Huntre Fen «>• 
(Holland Fen), or Mariscus Octo Hundredorus, as it is called in Du da[e 
some of the old records, by the consent of those who had right 
therein, whereby the King gave command that each town might 
have its due proportion assigned to it. A perambulation was 
made of the boundaries by twelve lawful Knights and these were 
properly fixed. Subsequently, in the 44th year of his reign, the 
King " directing his precept to the Shirereeve of the county, whereby 
taking notice that not only the landowners in those parts, but 
himself, had suffered inestimable damage by the overflowing of the 



HOLLAND FEN. 



246 

sea, and likewise of the fresh waters, through the default in the 
repairs of the banks, ditches, gutters, bridges, and sewers in the 
lands which lately belonged to William Longespe, in the Parts of 
Kesteven and Holland, he commanded the said Shirereeve forthwith 
to distrain all such Landholders who had safeguard by those banks 
and ditches, and ought to repair them according to the proportion of 
their lands, to the end that they might be speedily repaired in such 
sort as they ought and had used." 

In 1279 a Commission was sent by the King to investigate 
complaints as to neglect to repair the banks, sewers, ditches and 
gutters, and to maintain the bridges, whereby the inhabitants of the 
Wapentake of Kirton had sustained much loss by the overflowing of 
the Haute Huntre Fen, and in the year following the Prior of 
Spalding was summoned and ordered to repair the Peccebrigge. 
Again, seven years later, there was a great inundation in those parts, 
at which time most of Boston was drowned, and the King being 
informed that excessive damage had befallen the province by the 
want of repair of this Holand Causey, and by the decay of the 
banks, ditches and sewers in those parts, gave special command to 
the Justices itinerant to search the records and report to him as to 
the persons liable for such repairs ; and this being done, and because 
it was thought that it would be too much trouble and inconvenience 
for so great a number of people to appear before the King whereso- 
ever he might then be in his realm, and therefore it might be better 
to have the same discussed in these parts, the King appointed two 
sewers coMMis- Commissioners, to enquire who ought to repair those banks and 
sewers and to distrain them thereto. 

In the 23rd year of the reign of Edward I, at an Inquisition 
held at Gosberton, the Jury found that " Brunne Ee, Tolhan and 
Blake Kyrk ought to be repaired, raised and scoured by the town of 
Brunne from Brunne to Goderamscote on the north side ; and on 
the south to Merehirne, beyond which the town of Pyncebek ought 
to repair it unto Surflete ; and the town of Surflete from thence to 
the sea. Also that the sewer of Briggefleeter ought to be repaired 
by the town of Hekytone to the river of Swynesheved, whence the 
river was sufficient thereof to Kyme mouth. That the sewer of 
Encluse, near Boston, was stopped by the inhabitants of Boston on 
the west part of the bridge there, and that it ought to be 3ft. in 
breadth." 

In the reign of Edward II, the King's Justices sat at Boston to 
make enquiry into the state of the drainage and other matters 
relating to the Fens of Holland, when it was presented that, through 
the neglect of the Prior of Haverholme, the whole marsh of Kesteven 
and Holland was overflowed and drowned. It was found that the 
sewer called Hammond Beck, on the south end of Boston, was 
obstructed and ought to be repaired by the men of Boston inhabit- 



BIONS. 



247 

ing the west side of the bridge, and by the men of Skirbeck ; and 
for that reason all the said Inhabitants residing on the west side of 
the bridge ought to common in the Eight Hundred Fen ; also that 
the inhabitants of the ' Eight Hundreds ' ought to cleanse the river 
of Swynesheved from Balberdebothe unto the north end of 
Swynesheved town ; and the town of Swynesheved to do the like 
from the said place unto the River of Byker. The other sewers then 
in existence, and the places liable to their repair, were as follows, viz., 
the Swyneman Dam and Swane-lade, 16ft. to 20ft. wide, passing 
near Donington, Quadring and Gosberton, to Bicker Haven, and 
repaired by those parishes ; Risegate Ees (Risegate Eau), extend- 
ing from Gosberton to the sea, belonging to the parish of Gosberton; 
the sewer of the Beche, running from Pinchbeck North Fen to the 
sea, belonging to the parishes of Pinchbeck and Surfleet ; Burne 
Aide Ee, running from Bourne through Surfleet to the sea ; the 
first portion from Bourne to Gutheram Cote, belonging to the town 
and the Abbot of Bourne jointly ; and thence to Surfleet, belonging 
to the town of Pinchbeck, and after that to Surfleet. Dunsby was 
drained by a sewer called the Soud ; Hacconby, by one called 
Fenbngg. 

After this several Commissions were issued to view the state of 
the fens and fix the boundaries, the particulars of which are only a 
recapitulation of the above. One Inquisition, held at Thetford, found 
" that the banks of the Glen from Kate's Bridge to the sea were 
broken on both sides and they ought to be repaired, raised 2ft. and 
made 12ft. thicker. That this ought to be done on the north side by 
the towns of Thurlby, Obthorpe and Eyethorpe unto the cross near 
Abbote's Cote ; thence by the town of Brunne to Godram Cote ; 
thence by Pincebec and Surflete to the sea. Also that the banks of 
the river of Brunne ought to be enlarged from Leve Brigg in Brunne 
unto Tollum, and be made 2ft. higher and 12ft. thick, and that the 
town of Brunne ought to cleanse the Narwhee from Brunne to 
Godram's Cote." 

In 1376, it was found by a Sewer's Jury that " the said water 
wathmouth at its junction with Kyme Eau, was the common 
passage from Kesteven unto the River Witham, and that the ditch 
which is called the Old Hee, lying betwixt Holland Fen and 
Heckington Fen, ought to be cleansed and repaired by the in- 
habitants of the Eight Hundreds of Holland on the east part, and 
by Henry de Beaumont, Lord of Heckington, and the Commoners 
of Heckington, and Philip de Kyme on the west part, and from 
Balberdebothe to the river of Kyme ; and that the town of 
Hekington and Gerdwike ought to repair and cleanse the stream 
of Gerdwike unto ths water of Swineshed, viz., unto Balberdebothe, 
but the half of the said stream, unto the park on the south side, the 
Parson of Hale ought to cleanse and repair." It was further pre- 



248 

sented " that at the head of Caresdik was a certain stream which is 
called the South Ee, and ought to be repaired and cleansed by the 
town of Little Hale and the Commoners thereof on the one part, and 
by the towns of Helpringham and Biker unto Gobion Bothe on the 
other part ; and that Hatchlode was a common sewer, and ought 
to run at the same time that the sewer of Scathegraft did ; and that 
it ought, at the entrance of the water from the fen, to be ift. in 
breadth, and as much in depth, and within, by the town, to be 6ft. in 
breadth to the sea ; and to be repaired by the town of Pincebec to 
the sea ; also, that Brunne Old Ee ought to be repaired, raised and 
cleansed and maintained by the town of Brunne ; by the Abbot ' of 
Brunne from Brunne unto Goderamscote ; and the town of Pincebec 
ought to repair the same to Surfiet ; and the town of Surflet to 
the sea. For the default whereof, all the fen of Holland and 
Kesteven was overflown and drowned." 

In the 25th year of Edward III, a petition was presented to the 
King and his Council in Parliament, by the inhabitants of the fens in 
Kesteven and Holland, showing that the ancient boundary between the 
two divisions of the county ,the Mid-fen Dyke, and the other metes which 
went through the said fens from the Welland to the Witham, were 
at that time, by reason of floods and other impediments, so obscured 
as to be no longer visible, and hence frequent quarrels occured 
between the inhabitants : in consequence a Commission was appoint- 
ed, and the boundaries properly set out and defined by stone crosses. 

About this time also, a presentment was exhibited against the 
town of Bourne, with the hamlet of Dyke and Calthorp, and the 
town of Morton and Hermethorpe, for turning the fresh water 
towards the north, through the fens to Boston, instead of allowing 
it to run eastwards towards the sea. 

Three years afterwards, a Commission was issued to view and 
repair the banks and ditches on the south side of the Witham, from 
the town of Skirbeck to a place called the Shuff, and two years after 
for those betwixt the towns of St. Saviour (Bridge End), near Gibbet 
Hills, and Donington. 

In the same reign, "the towns of Hekyngton and Gerwick were 
found to be liable to repair and cleanse the one-half of Gerwick Ee, 
on the north side, unto the cow stalls of the Abbot of Swinesheved 
called Herevik ; and, by another Jury, that the inhabitants of the 
Eight Hundreds of Holand ought to cleanse and repair the ditch 
called the Old Ee, betwixt the Marsh of Holand and the Marsh of 
Hekington, on the west side of Balberboth and Haggeboth of West 
Crofte ; and the ditch from Balberboth in Hekington unto the 
Distrithe in Swinesheved Marsh." 

After this there appears to have been a long cessation of these 
Commissions, until the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as Dugdale says 
he could not find the record of any more for this province, except 



249 

in the 6th year of the reign of Henry V, when a Commission was '*"•• 

appointed to view and take order for the repair of the banks and 
ditches, and to proceed according to the law and custom of the 
realm. 

In the time of Henry VIII, the first systematic attempt at 
drainage was made. A Commission of Sewers was appointed and 
sat at Donington, and, having made survey of the fen, decreed that 
two great sewers, 20ft. wide and 5ft. deep, running parallel, at a 
distance of 36ft. from each other, should be cut from Gutheram's 
Cote to a point called Wragmere Stake, where they were to unite 
and continue in one channel, 30ft. wide, to Gill Syke, and then to 
the river YVitham at Langrick, where was a sluice. " And the 
said waters from the rivers of Glen to Witham, so intended from 
the south to the north, should fall into, enter, and go through all 
the lodes and drains in the fens aforesaid which came out of the 
parts of Kesteven to Hammond Beck, to the end that all the water 
going together might the better run within its own brinks and 
channels, and the sooner come to the sluice at Skirbeck Gote, and 
the new gotes at Langrick." At Langrick a new sluice was to be 
built of freestone, with four doors, each Sft. wide. The sewers were 
to be paid for by the several parishes through which the drains 
passed, and the sluice by the fen towns in Kesteven, Heckington, 
Kyme and Ewerbv. 

This order of the Court of Sewers was disobeyed by the 
parishes, who, instead of performing the works severally required 
of them, disputed the power of the Commission to make order for 
the execution of new works of drainage, contending that their 
functions only extended to the maintenance of the old and existing 
works. And so matters remained in abeyance till Queen Elizabeth's , 5M . 

time, in the Sth year of whose reign a Court of Sewers was held 
at Sempringham, and a general tax was again laid for carrying out 
the works ordered by the former Court : but nothing was done until 
nine years afterwards. At another Court, held at Swineshead, the 
Countrvmen complained that they were drowned more than formerly ; , 

and upon this an order was again made that those drains which the 
Duke of Suffolk and others had ordained to be begun about the 
latter end of the time of King Henry VIII, as also some others, 
should forthwith be set upon, and a tax was laid to pay for the 
same. The towns again refused to pay, and nothing was done for 
twenty-seven years, when the case was brought before the Court of 
Queen's Bench. Dugdale gives the following account of the 
trial : — 

" In 43 and 44 Elizabeth a great controversy did arise in the isoa 

county of Lincoln about the erecting of two new gotes at Skirbeck Dngd? ie's 
and Langare, for draining the waters of South Holland and the fens Em ^^f Kg ani 
|nto Boston Haven, which work Sir Edward Dimock, Knight, did 



REDSTONE GOWT. 
1601. 



250 

by himself and his friends further what he could, but it was opposed 
by the county of Kesteven ; and the exception taken thereto was 
that the Commissioners of Sewers could not, by the power of their 
Commission, make a law for the erecting of those new gotes where 
never any stood before ; whereupon, the decision of this point coming 
at length before the then two Justices, viz., Popham and Anderson, 
they delivered their opinions, that the said new gotes, if they were 
found to be good and profitable for the safety and advantage of the 
country, they might be erected by the power of this statute." 

Notwithstanding this judgment the inhabitants could not be 
made to pay, and the works were never carried out. 

In this reign, also, orders were made, at a Court held at Hel- 
pringham, " that the sewer called Ripingale South Dyke should be 
dyked from Berham Pooles to Irelode, and thence to the Beche, 12ft. 
in breadth, by the township of Pincebec ; also that Irelode drain 
should be dyked and banked by Dowsby and Ripingale for their 
limits ; and thence to the Beche by other townships through which it 
passed ; that a bridge should be built by the inhabitants of Quadring 
and Byker within the limits of Byker in Hekendale Wathe, over to 
Hekendale Hills, of such height as boats might well pass under and 
that bridges should also be built over the sewer at Kyrton Fen ; 
another at Frampton Fen, and another at Lichfield End, by the town- 
ships and persons who of right ought to do the same : these bridges 
to be 12ft. in breadth and of height sufficient for boats to pass under. 
Also that the YVaredyke, beginning atColehouse Stile and so extend- 
ing along the river of Burne Ee to Goodram's Cote, should be 
continued from the said cote to Dovehirne and distant from the 
river 100ft., and in breadth 12ft., and depth 3ft., at the cost of the 
parishioners of Pincebec ; and that the sewer called Xewe Dyke in 
Dyke Fen should be perfected from Ee Dyke Bridge unto Holand Fen 
Dyke; also that the sewer extending against the east to Xorthgraft 
should be dyked and banked by Hakanby, Dunsby and Pincebec, 
and that the sewer of Xorthgraft, from the first fall of the water of 
the fen to the sea, ought to be made 12ft. broad and 6ft. deep, by 
Pincebec ; and that the the sewer called the Beche, from Wright- 
bolt Clowe to the sea should be dyked and roded bv the townships 
of Pinchbeck, Gosberkirk and Surflet ; the sewer called the Claris- 
beck to be scoured by the landholders ; the sewer from Colehouse 
Stile to Frere Barre Hurne, thence to Burne Barre and thence to Ee 
Dyke, to be dyked by the Landholders." 

Under an order of the Court of Sewers, held at Boston, on 
March 16th, 1601, Redstone Gote was constructed for the purpose 
of affording a new outfall for the Hammond Beck. Anew Cut, about 
three quarters of a mile long, was also made, from it, to join the 
Old Hammond Beck at Litchfield Bridge, and continued thence to 
Kirton Holme. This new sewer was formerly known as the Red- 



25i 



stone Gote or Adventurers' Drain, and now as the New Hammond 
Beck. 

In 1673, Redstone Gote was presented to be rebuilt and 
enlarged on the south side. Again in 1674, it was represented to be 'in 
a lost ruined condition ' and that it would cost £~i,ooo to rebuild it. 
The inhabitants of Kesteven objecting to the expense, the work was 
deferred till 1695, when tne Gote was rebuilt at a cost of ,£"1,200, 
which was paid in equal portions by Kesteven and Holland. 

The cost of the erection of Redstone Gote and of other works 
for improving the drainage, was apportioned over the District by the 
verdict of a Sewers' Jury and made a law of Sewers, known after- 
wards as ' the Redstone Gowt Law,' which was adopted as the 
basis for all future taxation. 

In the reign of Charles I, three of the Commissioners of Sewers, 
one of whom was Sergeant Callis, the author of the standard work on 
the Law of Sewers, made a representation to the King that all this 
fen was surrounded with water, and had no cattle on it, and praying 
him to take . some steps for its reclamation ; whereupon special 
courts were held at Sleaford and Boston, in the year 1633, and an 
order was made for the draining of the fens, a tax of 13s. 4d. per 
acre being laid upon the land to pay for the same. The Landowners 
still refusing to pay, three years afterwards, upon the direction of 
the King, the Commissioners, at Courts held at Sleaford, Swineshead, 
Boston and Bourne, on the recommendation of the King, made a 
contract with the Earl of Lindsey, Lord High Chamberlain of 
England, to drain the fens lying between Kyme Eau and the Glen, 
computed to contain 36,000 acres ; for doing which he was to receive 
24,000 acres of the reclaimed land, taken proportionately out of the 
several fens. Whereupon the Earl of Lindsey set vigorously to 
work, and completed the drainage so effectually that three years 
afterwards, at a Court of Sewers held at Sleaford, after survey made 
of the sluices, banks and sewers, decree was made that the Earl had 
made full performance of his contract, and the grant of land he was 
to receive as payment was ratified to him. The cost of this work 
was ^45,000. On its completion the Earl and his fellow Adventurers 
inclosed the fens, built houses and farmsteads, brought the land 
into cultivation, and continued in peaceful possession about three 
years. 

About the same time, King Charles appointed Sir Robert 
Killigrew and William Lackton to be the Undertakers for the drain- 
age of the Eight Hundred, or Haut Huntre Fen, being that portion 
of the Level lying east of Earl Lindsey's Fen, or between Langrick 
and Boston, computed to contain 22,000 acres ; and a tax of twenty 
shillings per acre was levied upon 16,000 acres, to be paid by 
the inhabitants of Brothertoft, Swineshead, Wigtoft, Sutterton, 
Algarkirk, Fosdyke, Kirton, Frampton, Wyberton, Hale, Dogdyke, 



NEW HAMMOND 
BECK. 



REDSTONE GOWT 
LAW. 



THE EARL OP 

LINDSEY'S RE- 
CLAMATION. 



HAUTE HUNTRE 
FEN. 



State Papers 
Domestic. 1633 



DRAINS- 



252 

and Boston, who claimed common therein. On this tax not being paid, 
the Commissioners of Sewers, at a Court held at Boston, declared 
the King to be the sole Undertaker for the draining thereof, and as 
recompense for the cost of the same, granted to him 8,000 acres of 
the reclaimed land. The King parted with his interest to Sir 
William Killigrew, who was also a fellow Adventurer with the Karl 
of Lindsey in his drainage of the rest of the Level ; and under his 
direction this fen was drained and reclaimed. 
•DVEBTURER5- The principal drains which appear to have been made by the 

Adventurers were a new Cut, called the South Forty-Foot, from 
Swineshead to Boston, for the purpose of diverting the drainage from 
Kyme Eau to Boston Haven ; and a Gote on the north of and adjoin- 
ing the present Black Sluice, about 55ft. in width, with four pairs of 
pointing doors. From Swineshead the main drain was continued 
to Bridge End Causeway, by improving the existing drain and also 
making a new one parallel to it, to the west of the present drain 
and thence to Gutheram Cote, the drains being known as the Double 
Twelves Drain. This work was described as ' a navigable river 
from Bourne to Boston, a distance of 24 miles.' 

A new drain, called Clay Dyke, was cut through the centre of 
Holland Fen, joining the new main drain a little above Hubbert's 
Bridge, and a new Cut, called Brand Dyke, was also made from the 
Car Dyke through Hale Fen, passing under the new South Forty- 
Foot and discharging the high land water into the Hammond Beck. 
A new Cut was made to bring the water from Heckington Eau to 
Gill Syke, which discharged into the Witham by a sluice at 
Langrick. 

The Earl and his partner, Sir YV. Killigrew, were successful 
™A.*^r™"" w i tQ th® drainage, and the country began to assume a habitable 
appearance, but several disputes as to the rights of the Adventurers 
to their share of the reclaimed land having arisen, petitions were 
presented to Parliament by the Fenmen. After an enquiry, orders 
were granted by both Houses confirming the Earl in the possession 
of his property. " The malcontents, thus failin g to obtain their way, 
in contempt of all law and order, destroyed the drains and buildings, 
and also the crops — then ready to be reaped — to a very great 
value "; and up to Dugdales time had " held possession, to the 
great decay and ruin of those costly works and exceeding discom- 
modity to all that part of the country." They also attempted to pull 
down the new sluice at Boston, which had cost /"6,ooo. Sir W. 
Killigrew appealed to the Mayor of Boston, and prayed that an 
order might be given " to enquire out those that are now pulling 
that great sluice to pieces, which if it should, by this breaking up, 
be suncke by the water getting under it, the sea will break in all 
that side of the country, where no sea ever came. By the ruin of 
this our main sluice I conseave a hundred thousand pound damage 



DESTRUCTION OF 

■ME ADVENTUn 

ERS' WORKS. 

Dugdale, 1662. 



253 



may be done to the country, which those rogues doe not consider 
that doe steale and breake up the iron and the plankes of that great 
Sluse." The ' rogues,' however, succeeded and the sluice was 
completely destroyed, the water from the fen, for the next hundred 
years, finding its way to Boston Haven by the outfall at Redstone 
Gote, which was described in 1765 as ' the course of the water 
from the fens,' and by Lodowick's Gote and by the gote at Langrick. 
It does not appear that the Adventurers could procure any 
relief, as the unsettled state of public affairs, party spirit, and other 
causes growing out of the circumstances of the period, seem to have 
impeded the course of justice, and Sir William died, forty years after 
his petition to Parliament, a poor man, ruined by his Adventure. 

For nearly a hundred years the fen remained unreclaimed 
Some idea may be gained of its condition from the following 
description given by Mr. Thompson : — " The whole of the land 
between Brothertoft and Boston was frequentty overflowed during 
the winter season. The turnpike road from Boston to Swineshead, 
and the intersecting roads, leading to the adjacent villages were 
covered with a considerable depth of water ; of course they were 
dangerous to travel upon, and the country people brought their 
produce to Boston market in boats, being enabled very frequently 
to come in them as far as Rosegarth corner in "West Street, the 
water often reaching to the White Horse Inn in that street.'' 

About the middle of the 18th century Earl Fitzwilliam, for the 
purpose of draining his lands in Billinghay Dales, cut the North 
Forty-Foot through Holland Fen and diverted the water which 
went by Gill Syke to the Sluice at Langrick to a new outfall called 
Lodowick's Gote, situated on the old course of the Witham, about a 
third of a mile to the west of Boston Church. 

In the winter of 1763 and following spring, the greatest flood 
that was ever remembered occurred. Over the whole 22,000 acres 
of Holland Fen not one single acre was dry. The Parish of 
Brothertoft was entirely surrounded by water, which flowed into 
the houses. The flood extended from the high land near Heckington 
into the town of Boston. The banks of the Bourne Eau and 
the Glen being broken, it was expected that the water would make 
its way over the banks of the Hammond Beck, but by a great deal 
of labour in cradging, and a fortunate change taking place in the 
wind, the rest of the country was saved. This flood was caused by 
continued rain and the imperfection of the drainage. 

On the 28th April, 1 764, a meeting of Proprietors of lands in 
the fen was held at the White Hart in Boston. At this and sub- 
sequent meetings, it was determined to take steps to improve the 
drainage, and to open out the Old Black Sluice, which had been 
allowed to remain in ruins since its destruction by the Fenmen, a 
hundred years previously. Mr. Langley Edwards, who carried out 



Thompson's 
Boston. 



NORTH 
FORTY-FOOT. 



Fig 6. 



GREAT FLOOD. 

1TS3. 



MEETING OF 
ROPRIETORS. 



2 54 



LANGLEV ED* 

WARDS REPORT. 

ITS-.- 



the works for the improvement of the Witham, was appointed 
Engineer, and presented a plan and report, by which it was proposed 
to bring the whole of the drainage of the level from Gutheram Cote 
to the Black Sluice at Boston. An objection was raised to part of 
this scheme by the Owners of land at the south end of the district, 
and they were supported in their opinion by Mr. Grundy of 
Spalding, who proposed that the drainage of Spalding, Pinchbeck and 
the other fens at the south end should discharge by the Old Beche 
into the Glen. Mr. Edward's plan, however, obtained the support 
of the majority, and was adopted, and it was determined to obtain 
an Act of Parliament giving the necessary powers. Mr. Edwards 
proposed opening out and repairing the Old Black Sluice ; cleaning 
out the Black Sluice Drain to Swineshead ; thence making a new 
drain along the course of the Old Double Twelves Drain, which 
ran in the same direction as the Mid- Fen Dyke to Gutherham ; 
and also other drains, which are described more fully later on. 
amen sluice A fund was raised by the principal Landowners for defraying 

-.Geo*!!^ c 6s * ne cos ' : °^ obtaining an Act of Parliament, towards which the 
-5*5 Corporation of Boston subscribed £40, and the Act for draining 

and improving certain low marsh and fen lands lying between Boston Haven 
and Bourn, in the parts of Kesteven and Holland, in the County of 
Lincoln was obtained. 

The preamble of the Act states that " the lands to which it 
relates were frequently overflowed with water, through the insuf- 
ficiency and decay of their Outfalls to the sea, whereby they were 
become of far less value and use to the Owners thereof, though they 
were very capable of being drained and improved." 

Under the powers of this Act, the management was taken out 
of the hands of the Court of Sewers, to whom it had reverted 
after the failure of the Adventurers, and was placed in charge 
of a Commission, consisting of one Representative from each 
of the following parishes, Bourne, Dike, Cawthorp, Morton, Harms- 
thorp, Hackonby, Stainfield, Dunsby, Rippingale, Ringstone, Kirkby, 
Dowsby, Aslackby, Graby, Milthorpe, Poynton, Sempringham, 
Billingborough, Horbling, Swayton, Helpringham, Little Hale, 
Great Hale, Heckington, Asgarby, Howel, Ewerby, South Kyme, 
Bicker, Donington, Quadring, Quadring Hundred, Gosberton, 
Surfleet, Pinchbeck, Spalding and Cowbit, Boston West, Skirbeck, 
Quarter, Wyberton, Frampton, Kirton, Algarkirk, Fosdyke, Sutter- 
ton, Wigtoft, Swineshead and Brothertoft. All Proprietors of lands 
of any estate of freehold, copyhold of inheritance, or leasehold.where- 
in no more than half the yearly value thereof is reserved as a rent, 
being of the yearly value of five pounds and upwards, and lying 
within the parish or township ; and all Farmers at rack rent of lands, 
being of the yearly value of thirty pounds, were authorised to have 
voices. It was also enacted that every person qualified to act as 



255 

Commissioner must be in possession, by his own or his wife's right, 
of rents of the yearly value of ^"ioo ; or be entitled to a personal 
estate of the clear yearly value of ^"2,000. 

The Commissioners are elected for three years, but continue in 
office after this period if the parishioners fail to hold an election at 
the end of the three years. In case of vacancy from death or refusal 
to act, another Commissioner to be elected within three months, or 
failing such election by the parishioners, the Lord of the Manor to 
have power to fill the vacancy. The elections are directed to take 
place at the vestry or the usual place of meeting in the parish, on 
the first Tuesday in Hay. Commissioners have power to appoint 
a Deputy for three months, provided such Deputy possesses half the 
qualification, or occupies ^100 a year within the parish. The Com- 
missioners or their Deputies were directed by this Act to take a 
prescribed oath before acting, but, by the Act of 1846, this oath was 
repealed and in its place a declaration has to be made, to the effect 
that the Commissioner is possessed of the necessary qualification and 
will without favour or affection, hatred or malice, truly and impartially 
perform the duties of the office. Each Commissioner was to be allowed 
five shillings a day for his expenses when attending the execution of 
the Act," which has to be paid by the parish represented. The limit of 
the tax by this Act was sixpence per acre on lands in Bourne, Dyke, 
Cawthorpe, Morton, Harmsthorp, Haconby, Stainfield, Dunsby, 
Rippingale, Ringstone, Kirkby, Dowsby, Aslackby, Graby, Mil- 
thorpe, Poynton, Sempringham, Billingborough, Horbling, Bridge 
End, Swaton, Helpringham, Donington, Quadring, Quadring 
Hundred, Gosberton, Surfleet, Pinchbeck North Fen, Bicker 
Common, Bicker and Swineshead Low Lands on the east side of 
Hammond Beck, and also the Common Marsh lying in YVigtoft 
and Swineshead ; and threepence per acre on Swineshead Low 
Grounds on the west side of Hammond Beck, Little Hale, Great 
Hale, Heckington, Howell, Asgarby, Ewerby, and South Kyme, 
on the south side- of Kyme Eau ; and twopence per acre on 
such part of the Common called Holland Fen, wherein the 
following parishes had rights of Common, viz., Boston West, Skir- 
beck Quarter, Wyberton, Frampton, Kirton, Algarkirk, Fosdyke, 
Sutterton, YVigtoft, Swineshead, and Brothertoft. The Commis- 
sioners of the Second Witham District were to pay to the Black 
Sluice Trust, the yearly rates of twopence and one penny per acre 
out of the monies raised on land in Holland Fen, for the purpose of 
interior drainage. If the above taxes were insufficient, the Com- 
missioners were empowered to levy additional taxes to the extent of 
half the above amounts. Harts Grounds, the Great and Little Beats 
and the inclosed lands in Brothertoft were exempted from taxation. 

The District is defined in the Act as bounded "on the north-east 
side by the south-west banks of the old and new River Witham, 



BOUNDARY O 
DISTRICT. 



WORKS CARRIED 

OUT UNDER THE 

ACT. 



256 

excluding the said banks and the Haven of Boston from Chappell 
Hill Hurn, to the north side of Lodowick Gowt, excluding the said 
Gowt and banks thereof, and from the south side of the south bank 
thereof to the south side of the south bank of the South Forty- Foot 
at the Black Sluice by the Haven of Boston aforesaid ; and on the 
south by the outside of the said south bank of the said Forty- Foot from 
the said Town to the junction of the old and new Hammond Becks 
with the said Forty- Foot a little below Wyberton Chain Bridge, and 
from thence by the north bank of the said old Hammond Beck to the 
east end of the Firth Lands, and thence 1 by the east, north and west 
banks of the said Firth Lands, and from thence by the north bank of the 
old Hammond Beck to Kirton Holme, excluding the said bank ; and 
from thence to Swineshead High Bridge, by the lands of Kirton Holme 
and the high grounds of Wigtoft and Swineshead, and from thence 
by the turnpike road through Swineshead to the Guide Post near 
Swineshead Drayton, and from thence by the division between 
Swineshead and Bicker to Hoflet Stowe, and thence by the east 
bank of the Wigtoft marsh to Lingerhouse, and from thence by the 
south end of the said marsh to Quadring Eau Dike, and to the 
division between the lands of Donington and Quadring, and thence 
by the said boundary to Crane Bridge, on the turnpike road from 
Donington to Quadring, and from the said bridge along the north 
bank of Mer Lode to the east bank of Hammond Beck, excluding 
the said Lode ; and from thence along the west side of the said east 
bank, excluding the said bank, to the south side of the north bank 
of the River Glen, belonging to the Adventurers of Deeping Fen, 
and from thence westward along the south side of the said north 
bank to Gutheram Cote, and from thence on the south side of the 
north bank of the said River Glen, belonging to Bourne, as far as 
Tongue End, and from thence on the same side of the north bank of 
Bourne Eau as far as Bourne, and from Bourne on the west by the 
high grounds of Bourne Dike, Cawthorpe, Morton, Harmsthorp, 
Hackonby, Stainfield, Dunsby, Rippingale, Ringston, Kirkby, 
Dowsby, Aslackby, Graby, Milthorp, Poynton, Sempringham, 
Billingborough, Horbling, Bridge End, Swayton, Helpringham, 
Little Hale, Great Hale, Heckington, Asgarby, Howell and Ewerby, 
to the south bank of Kyme Eau, and by the said south bank, and 
the east bank of the said Eau to the said River Witham, near 
Chappell Hill aforesaid." 

The following works were authorised to be carried out under 
the powers of this Act, viz., the erection of a new sluice at the lower 
end of the South Forty- Foot Drain, on the spot where the Old Black 
Sluice formerly stood, the new floor lying on the old floor, and its 
water way being 56ft., or the same dimensions as the old floor, when 
found, would admit of, with 4. pairs of pointing doors ; also a stanch 
for retaining fresh water in dry seasons for the use of cattle ; the 



257 

South Forty-Foot was to be scoured and cleansed from the Black 
Sluice to the east side of Hale P'en, having 6oft. top and 46ft. 
bottom, to Clay Dyke, and from 3ft. to 5ft. deeper ; thence to Hale 
Fen, 40ft. top and 30ft. bottom ; thence a new drain to be cut to 
Gutherham Cote, having 40ft. top and 26ft. bottom, as far as Hel- 
pringham Eau ; thence to Bridge End Causeway, 35ft. wide at top 
and 21ft. at bottom; thence in the same direction as the 'Double 
Twelves ' to Gutherham Cote, gradually decreasing to 20ft. top and 
10ft. bottom. The Hammond Beck from Redstone Gote to its junction 
with the Forty-Foot, and the Old Hammond Beck from its junction 
with the Forty-Foot, a little below Wyberton Chain Bridge until it 
met the New Hammond Beck, and thence to its junction with 
the Old Hammond Beck, above Hardwick \Yarth, 36ft. top and 20ft. 
bottom, decreasing to 30ft. top and 16ft. bottom ; the Old Hammond 
Beck to be scoured out to Pinchbeck Bars, with 26ft. top and 16ft. 
bottom, gradually diminishing to the upper end ; one of the drains 
from Gosberton Clough to the New Cut to be enlarged and made of 
the same dimensions as the New Cut at the junction ; the side 
drain to be scoured out along the course of the new drain as the 
work went on. 

The Deeping Fen Proprietors were to be exonerated from 
keeping in repair the North Bank of the Glen, from Dove Hum to 
Gutheram Cote, and the Black Sluice Commissioners to maintain 
the same ; the Deeping Fen Proprietors paying ^"18 per annum. 
They were also to keep in repair the bank from this point to the 
high lands in Bourne, • this parish and Cawthorpe, the other 
Proprietors of the bank paying at the rate of 20s. a furlong for the 
maintenance of the same between Gutheram Cote and Tongue 
End, and 10s. a furlong from there to the high land in Bourne. 
No soil was to be taken to repair the south banks of the Glen or 
Bourne Eau within 20ft. of the north bank. Tunnels, not exceed- 
ing gin. square, were to be laid through the banks on both sides, 
for the purpose of letting fresh water into the common lands for the 
use of cattle in drv seasons ; and all the tunnels then existing 
through the banks of the Old and New Hammond Beck were to 
remain. Pointing doors were to be put down at the east end of 
Clay Dyke and on both sides of the Forty-Foot where the Skirth 
crosses, and at Hale East or Brand Dyke. 

Bridges were to be built and maintained by the Commissioners 
wherever the new main drain crossed any public highway ; all 
ancient bridges, where the drains were widened, were to be enlarged, 
and private bridges, where necessary, were to be erected, to preserve 
to the inhabitants of any place a passage to such parts of their lands 
as should be cut off by the new drain. By a subsequent Act a 
waggon bridge was to be built over Heckington Eau at Five Willow 
Warth, and a horse bridge across the New Cut, between Little 



2 5 8 

Hale and Bicker Fens, to be afterwards maintained by Bicker and 
Hale jointly. 

The Eleven Towns of Holland having a right of Common 
in Holland Fen were authorised to erect at the expense of the 
Inhabitants, a bridge over the South Forty- Foot between Syke 
Marsh and Clay Hills, and also a waggon bridge over the drain 
at any place that the Commissioners might think proper. The 
navigation hitherto in use was not to be obstructed and the bridges 
were to be so constructed as not to hinder it. 

The communication between Risegate Eau and the Hammond 
Beck was not to be stopped or interfered with, and the Proprietors 
of lands draining by it were to have the same rights of shutting 
down or keeping open the doors of Gosberton Clough. 

The Commissioners were to scour out and afterwards maintain 
the following drains or becks, which convey the living and downfall 
waters from the high land into the maiudrain, viz., New Dyke in 
Bourne, Scotten Dyke, Haconby Lode, Rippingale Running Dyke, 
Dowsby Lode, Pointon Lode, Billingborough Lode, the Ouze Mer, 
between Billingborough and Horbling, Horbling New Drain, Swa- 
ton Eau, Helpringham Eau and the new Cut, leading from the Forty- 
Foot Drain eastward to Brand Dyke ; the drain from the Clough at 
Hodge Dyke End in the Parish of Ewerby-by- Asgarby, and Howell 
Midfodder to Heckington Head Drain, and thence to Clay Dyke 
into the South Forty- Foot. 
»"""«« The diameters of any water wheels of the engines used for the 

interior drainage were not to exceed 15ft. between Bourne Eau and 
Rippingale Running Dyke ; i4ift. from there to Poynton Lode ; 
14ft. to Bridge End Causeway ; and 13ft. below this. 

The Commissioners were to make a drain from the Swines- 
head and Wigtoft Marshes to the Hammond Beck, the cost to be 
defrayed out of the surplus money arising from the inclosure of the 
marsh. Redstone Gote and the drain leading thereto were, after the 
passing of the Act, to be repaired by the Commissioners. 

Owners of land on the west side of the New Cut were to be 
authorised to put down clows at their own expense, at the lower end 
of the several drains next the Cut, for holding up water in dry 
seasons, the doors to be shut down only on four days in a week. 
For making or repairing banks the Commissioners were empowered 
to take soil within 300ft. of any bank on making satisfaction for the 
same. The Earl of Exeter was not to be hindered from taking 
water out of the River Glen for his two decoys near Bourne ; nor 
the Earl of Warwick from having fresh water for the use of his 
lands in Algarkirk and Fossdyke from Kyme Eau, by tunnels under 
the South Forty-Foot, Hammond Beck and other drains. 

The Commissioners were authorised to appoint a Receiver of 
Taxes and a Treasurer, both officers to give security ; also a Clerk 



WHEELS- 



ACCOMMODATION 
WORKS- 



OFFICERS. 



COLLECTION OF 
RATES- 



PENALTY FOR 
N J USING WORKS- 



259 

and Surveyor, and such other Officers as they should think fit. 

For the collection of the rates each parish or township was 
once a year to nominate at a vestry two persons living within the 
parish, to collect the rates due from persons in such parish, and to 
pay the amount received half-yearly to the Receiver, for which they 
were to be paid twopence in the pound. The penalty for refusing to 
act after appointment was fixed at £5. By the subsequent Act it was 
provided that these Collectors were to be appointed within one 
month from the 7th of June in each year, and, if the parishes 
neglected to return two names in writing before that date, the 
Commissioners were empowered to make the necessary appointments. 
The nominations by the parish were to be reported to the Commis- 
sioners and confirmed. 

In order to prevent the new works from being rendered abortive, as 
all previous attempts had been, by the lawlessness of the Fenmen, it 
was enacted that any persons proved guilty of wilfully or maliciously 
damaging any banks or works were to be deemed guilty of 
felony, and the Court before which they were tried was to have 
power to transport such felons for seven years. This clause was 
repealed in the Act obtained in the 12th year of the present reign, 
and in lieu thereof persons found guilty of injuring the works were 
to become liable to a penalty of ^"5. 

The amount authorised to be raised not proving sufficient, an IO Geo - «»> c - 41 
amended Act was obtained, five years later, authorising the Commis- 
sioners to double the former taxes, which consequently became on 
the respective districts eighteenpence, ninepence, and sixpence per 
acre. They also obtained powers to carry out additional works, and 
to contribute ^3,000 towards cleansing, deepening and widening the 
Glen from the sluice at the Reservoir to Tongue End, on the 
Commissioners of Deeping Fen spending a similar amount. 

They were further authorised to cause the Car Dyke to bescoured nnnns to be 
out and maintained from Bourne Eau to the north side of Haconby 
Lordship, and from there to cut a dike between Haconby and 
Dunsby to the old Scotten Dike, and Rippingale Running Dike to 
the New Cut ; also that part of Heckington Head Drain from 
Howell Engine to the north-west corner of Truss Fen, and the 
Hodge Dike Drain from Howell Midfodder, between Ewerby Fen 
and Howell and Asgarby Fens, to the extent of the taxable lands, 
and the drain called Labour-in-vain Drain from the Division Drain 
of the fens of Heckington and Great Hale into the East Dike, and 
thence by the Twenty-Foot Drain into the New Cut ; also the 
Northland Dike, the Old Forty-Foot, the New Dike to the 
Twenty- Foot, and thence to the New Cut ; also the drains 
between Neslam Inclosed Grounds and Pointon Fen, and the drain 
between the Fens of Aslackby and Dowsby, and the drain between 
the Fens of Hacconby and Morton, and the drain between Bourne 



MAINTAINED I 
THE TRUST. 



260 

and Morton, from the new dike near Cooper's Engine to the east bank 
of the old Scotten Dike, were also to be scoured out and cleansed. 

The Commissioners were empowered to cleanse and repair the 
Fifteen-Foot Drain, from the New Cut to Dampford Engine, and to 
charge the expense to the Commissioners of the Second District, in 
case they neglected to do this ; also to scour out Wyberton Drain, 
Frampton Town Drain, and Kirton Town Drain, for the purpose of 
discharging the water from the New Cut and the Hammond Becks 
during the time that any work should be going on which would stop 
the water flowing to the Black Sluice. 

A pair of pointing doors was to be erected near Gosberton 
Clough in Hammond Beck to prevent the flood waters flowing up 
the beck, south of the doors. 

Certain Owners of lands north of the Glen were to be allowed 
to drain into their system upon payment of such rates as should be 
agreed on, and such lands were to be exempted from the authority 
of the Court of Sewers. 
navigation- Power was given to erect a pen sluice, or lock, for navigation 

at the Black Sluice ; and one at the east end of ths drove-way in 
Little Hale Fen, and on the Hammond Beck ; the top of the pen 
sluice at the Black Sluice, or Little Hale Fen, not to hold the water 
higher than within 2ft. below the mean level of the surface of the 
land within two miles of the Xew Cut and Clay Dike ; and any pen 
stocks above this, to within i8in. below the surface, within two miles 
of the west side of the Xew Cut. Power was also given to earn" out 
such works as were necessary for making the Xew Cut and the 
Hammond Beck navigable, and to exact tolls from boats, provided 
that such works did not prejudice the drainage. The pen locks or 
stanches were at any time to be opened, if necessary, for the 
drainage, on an order signed by three Commissioners. 

The last attempt to drain the level was thoroughly successful. 
The works were efficiently carried out, and, being well-designed, 
entirely answered the expectation of the promoters. The fen 
which, before the drainage, was little better than a morass, 
growing a coarse herbage and affording a scanty pasturage during 
the summer months, became rich arable and grass land, and the 
annual value increased tenfold. 

Two years after the Drainage Act had been obtained another 
was passed for enclosing and dividing Holland Fen. This Act will 
be referred to afterwards. The Enclosure and Drainage were not 
carried out without difficulty. 

Several serious riots were caused by the Fenmen, the successors 
of those who had so effectually destroyed the works carried out by 
Earl Lindsey and the former Adventurers. The enclosure was 
regarded by these men as an infringement of rights and privileges 
which they had long enjoyed. Very lawless excesses were com- 



INCLOsURC OF 
HOLLAND FEN. 



26l 

mitted in opposition to, and to the destruction of,the public works; and 
fences which were erected in the day-time, were frequently pulled 
down during the night. So difficult was it found to maintain the 
fences put up, marking the divisions of the allotted lands, that a 
subsequent Act had to be obtained, authorising the removal and sale 
of the fencing and the substitution of ditches. 

In the summer of 176S a number of Fenmen and others 
assembled at Hubbert's Bridge, whence they proceeded to Boston 
and to the offices of Mr. Draper, the solicitor to the Commissioners) 
demanding all the papers relating to the Inclosure. Having seized 
the box which contained them, they tore the contents to pieces. 
They then went to the houses of those who were known to be pro- 
moters of the Inclosure, and threatened to pull their houses down if 
they did not promise to desist from proceeding. From Boston they 
went to Frampton, and in like manner threatened Mr. Tunnard and 
others. Finally the troops had to be called in and ' Gentleman 
Smith,' of Swineshead, the ringleader, was seized, and the riot quelled. 
The state of Bourne Eau and the River Glen has been a con- 
stant cause of anxiety to the Managers of the Black Sluice District. 
The bed of the latter river has gradually risen so high, by accumu- 
lated deposits, as to be above the level of the fen, and thus the 
drainage by it is very imperfect, and the banks are liable to breaches 
from heavy floods. These banks have given way no less than four- 
teen times since 1821, eight of the breaches being on the south, and 
six on the north side. When these breaches occurred, several thou- 
sand acres of land were inundated, to the very serious loss of the 
occupiers. It has been stated that the cost, during the above period, 
of maintaining the banks and repairing the breaches, amounted to 
upwards of £1 0,000. 

The banks of Bourne Eau are even in a worse condition than 
those of the Glen, being low and made of light and porous earth. 
Doors are placed at Tongue End, pointing to the Glen, which pre- 
vent the water in floods from reverting up the Bourne Eau; an overfall 
of about 20ft. in length is fixed in the north bank, over which the 
water runs when it rises so high as to threaten a breach of the 
banks. This overflow is connected with the South Forty-Foot Drain 
near Gutherham Cote. 

One of the most serious floods which has occurred since the 
new works were completed was in April 1S72, when, on an unusu- 
ally rapid flow coming down the Glen, the water rose 2ft. higher than 
ever known before ; and a breach occurred between the lock and 
Bourne Eau Sluice, at Tongue End, and Bourne Fen was flooded. 
An action was brought by the Proprietors of the flooded land against 
the Black Sluice Commissioners, to recover damages for the loss 
sustained by negligence in permitting the water to flow over the 
bank. The action was tried at the following Lincoln Spring 



RIOT OF 176 



THE GLEN AND 
BOURNE EAU* 



FLOOD OF 1872. 



262 



Hardwick v. 
Wiles. 



INEFFICIENT 
CONDITION OP 
THE DRAINAGE. 



Report on the 
Glen by J. 
Kingston and 
A. Harrison, 
1883. 



RENNIE'S 
REPORT, me 



Assizes. The question left to the Jury was, " Whether the Com- 
missioners took reasonable care that the bank in question should be 
in a reasonably fit and proper condition to protect the adjacent lands 
from water and floods reasonably to be contemplated." The Jury 
found for the defendants. On a second proposition, as to whether 
the Commissioners " had heightened and strengthened," according 
to the provisions of the Act, gth and 10th Vict., the Jury also found 
in favour of the Commissioners. In 1862 the Glen had been 
cleaned out, from its junction with the Welland to about i|- miles 
above where the breach occurred. About 3ft. was taken from the 
bed of the river, and half the material was put on the banks on this 
side. All the material, however, taken out at the immediate spot 
where the breach occurred, had been placed on this bank, heightening 
and strengthening it. In 1877 a large breach occurred in the Xorth 
Glen Bank, and Bourne Fen was again inundated. This breach 
was supposed to have been caused by some persons cutting away 
the bank, and a reward of ^100 was offered for the discovery of the 
offenders, but without effect. 

The common effect produced on all fen lands by improved 
drainage is a general subsidence of the soil. The abstraction of the 
water from the land into the drains causes the spongy soil gradually 
to consolidate, and this process is still further assisted by the 
ploughing and working of the land. The organic matter also, 
accumulated during many centuries, by being exposed to the 
atmosphere, decomposes, and the general result is a lowering 
of the level of the surface of the ground. Owing to this 
cause and the demand for improved drainage, complaints became 
general as to the imperfect condition of the drainage of the Level ; 
and the Proprietors of the land urged on the Commissioners the 
necessity for taking steps to obtain further powers for remedying 
this. 

The taxes levied on the district at this time amounted to 
^"3,520, about one-fifth of which was derived from the tolls on 
the Navigation. This was absorbed in scouring out the drains, 
repairing the sluices and strengthening the banks, so that there 
was no surplus which could be devoted to new works. 

In 1815 the Commissioners consulted Mr. John Rennie and 
directed him to report generally as to the most effectual mode of 
improving the drainage of the District. In a preliminary report, 
made at a meeting held at Donington, Mr. Rennie advised the Com- 
missioners that, in his opinion, to render the drainage perfect, it 
would be advantageous that Boston Haven should be improved, or 
that a new Cut should be made from the Black Sluice to Wyberton 
Roads. Acting on this advice, the Commissioners applied to the 
Corporation of Boston, and to the YVitham Commissioners, asking if 
they would concur in such a scheme as Mr. Rennie advised, for the 



263 

improvement of the river. These Trusts, however, declined to join in 
any such scheme. 

With reference to the drainage above the Black Sluice, Mr. 
Rennie, after referring to the inadequacy of the then means of drain- 
age, by which cause a great deal of the land was frequently flooded 
and seriously injured, traced the cause to the great quantity of 
water which came into the fen from the high lands ; and he con- 
sidered that no effectual drainage could be obtained, unless the water 
which came from a higher level could be prevented from mixing 
with the fen water and over-riding it. For this purpose he 
recommended that the Old Car Dyke should be scoured out and 
converted into a catch-water drain, so as to intercept all the flood 
water which comes down from the high lands lying between Bourne 
and Ewerby, and that this water should be carried by Heckington 
Cut and Gill Syke into the North Forty-Foot, and so by this drain 
to Redstone Gote, or to a new sluice, to be built a little below the 
Grand Sluice. By this means the Level would be relieved of the 
high land waters, which were the principal cause of the drowned 
state of the Fens. He also recommended the deepening and cleansing 
of several other drains, and the strengthening of the north bank of 
Bourne Eau, the total cost of the works being estimated at ,£"66,160, 
viz. : — 

£ s. d. 

The catchwater drain from Bourne to the 

Witham, near to the Grand Sluice ... 35,832 o o 

A new Sluice for the same, of 30ft. water 
way, and a tunnel under the North 
Forty-foot ... ... ... ... ... 12,220 o o 

Scouring out the South Forty-Foot, Ham- 
mond Beck, and Sundries ... ... 12,406 o o 

Barrier Bank at Bourne Eau ... ... 5,702 o o 



^66,160 o o 

These recomendations of Mr. Rennie were not carried into 
effect, and the condition of the drainage became so bad, that the 
lower lands were continually flooded and the crops destroyed, 
or greatly injured. The loss throughout the level was stated, in 
some seasons, to be ^"40,000, and the annual loss ,£"20,000. 

On a map of the Fens, dated 1830, there are shown no less 
than 46 windmills in this Level which were used for lifting the water 
off the low lands into the main drains. 

The Proprietors of Bourne Fen, failing to obtain drainage by 
natural means, after considerable litigation with the Black Sluice 
Commissioners, obtained an Act enabling them to employ steam 
power, and an engine was erected near Gutheram Cote. Other 
parishes followed this example, and thus obtained an individual 



USE OF 

STEAM PUMPING 

ENGINES- 



FURTHER RE- 



264 

benefit at a very much greater aggregate cost than the expense of 
one general measure. 

The work of improvement was hindered for some time by a 
division of opinion which existed as to be the best method of effecting 
the natural drainage of the Level. One party, headed by the Rev. 
Kingsman Foster, a Commissioner, contended that the proper out- 
let of the waters of the south part of the fen was the River Welland. 
His plan was to deepen and widen the River Glen and the Risegate 
Eau, and to divert a portion of the waters of the Level, by means of 
these two streams, into the Welland. He further complained of 
what he considered a great injustice inflicted on the taxpayers 
of the Black Sluice Level, owing to the fact of 30,000 
acres of land, lying on the east of the Hammond Beck, and under 
the jurisdiction of the Court of Sewers, obtaining ' surreptitious 
drainage ' by discharging their waters into the drains of the Black 
Sluice Level without being taxed towards the expenses of that Trust. 
He attributed the cause of this to the silting up of the outlets be- 
longing to the Court of Sewers, which ought to have conveyed 
these waters to the Welland. 

In 1S43, the Commissioners directed Mr. W. Lewin to 
make a report as to the best means of improving the drainage. 
\ . Lewin. 1843. j n ^e following year they called in Sir John Rennie, who had 
j. Rennie. in 5 . succee ded his father; and, having adopted his report, dated Jan. 31st, 
1S45, determined to go to Parliament for fresh powers to raise 
money and carry out works. Both Sir John Rennie and Mr. Lewin, 
and also Mr. Thomas Pears, strongly advocated the plan proposed to 
the Commissioners by Mr. Rennie in 1815, for the conversion of the 
Car Dyke into a catch water or receiving drain for the water flowing 
on to the Level from the high lands between Bourne and Ewerby; but 
against this there appears to have been so strong a prejudice that 
Sir John was obliged to abandon it, and he therefore prepared an 
amended scheme, with which the Commissioners went to Parlia- 
ment, but considerable opposition being raised by the upper dis- 
tricts, and owing to other causes, the Bill was not carried. 

After the loss of the Bill in the Session of 1845. the Commis- 
sioners consulted Mr. W. Cubitt, who made first a verbal report, 
the substance of which was printed in a memorandum, bearing date 
Donington. Xov. 14, 1845. and subsequently a written report, with 
a plan of the district, dated Jan. 1, 1S46. Mr. Cubitt expressed the 
opinion that the main drains of the Black Sluice were in suitable 
positions, and that no material alteration in the position of the 
sluice was necessary; that the main drains, generally, wanted 
enlarging and deepening, and the level of the Navigation water 
lowering 4ft. If this were done and the drains and sluices main- 
tained in good order, he considered that a perfect natural drainage 
at all times would be provided, and that the fens would be as well 



CUBITT'S 



265 

drained in times of flood as they were in fine weather ; and that 
the steam engines at Bourne and Morton, and all the wind engines 
would become unnecessary. The effect of the works would be to 
provide for the discharge into Boston Haven of more than three 
times the quantity of water the present drains were capable of 
discharging within the same time. With regard to the Catchwater 
system which had been recommended by Mr. Rennie and Mr. 
Lewin, the necessary works would, in his opinion, cost ,£"100,000, and, 
if this system were carried out thoroughly, and the drainage improved 
in all respects, the cost would amount to ^"300,000. With regard to 
the proposed Outfall into the Welland by Risegate Eau, he reported 
that this drain could be widened and deepened, so as to afford a 
drainage to the upper part of the Black Sluice Level, but the Out- 
fall would not answer the purpose as well as that at Boston at a 
commensurate expense, as, for a great part of its length, the cutting 
for the drain would have to be 20ft. deep, owing to the height of the 
land ; and that it would cost ^"50,000 to make it a fit drain. As to 
the diversion of the water from Boston Haven, Mr. Cubitt was of 
opinion that, were the respective Outfalls of the Witham and the 
Welland as well managed as they were susceptible of being, there 
would be plenty of water for both Spalding and Boston Ports. 

Mr. Cubitt having been also consulted as to the principle of system or 
taxation adopted in the Level, stated that it was clear that, upon 
the whole, it was fair ; that the Eighteenpenny District, consisting 
of lands which formerly were swamps and the lowest land in the 
level, as well as being situated the furthest from the sea, required 
the most works for its relief, and therefore ought to pay the high- 
est rate ; and that he did not see how any case could be made 
against the Owners of the untaxed lands, as they did not require 
artificial drainage and had to maintain the sea banks, for the support 
of which the Black Sluice Level was not charged, although those 
banks were the barriers against its being drowned by the sea. 

The estimated cost of the works recommended was ^"50,000 
for enlarging the drains ; ^"10,000 for altering bridges and 
sluices ; ^"30,000 for the new sluice at Boston ; making a total, with 
contingencies, of ^100,000. 

Acting on this report the Commissioners promoted a Bill in 



TAXATION. 



ACT OF 1S-*S. 



the Session of 1846, and succeeded in obtaining an Act " for better 9 and I0 vict -' 
draining and improving certain low marsh and fen lands lying between 
Boston and Bourn, in the County of Lincoln, and for further improv- 
ing the navigation through such lands." This Act recites that the 
general means of draining the lands had become very defective, in con- 
sequence whereof considerable losses in agricultural produce were 
frequently sustained, the recurrence of which might be prevented by 
improvements made in the drainage; and also that, no provision having 
been made in the former Acts for the discharge of the debt incurred in 



266 

carrying out the existing works of drainage, it had for many years 
operated as an obstacle to the application of sufficient means for 
maintaining them in an efficient state, and that it was desirable to 
make arrangements for the gradual extinction of the existing and 
any future debts. The debt at this time was /55,ooo. 

The works recommended by Mr. W. Cubitt and sanctioned by 
the Act were as follows : — 

i — The lowering of the South Forty-Foot River from end to end, to 
a depth of from 4ft. to 5ft. on an average, so as to bring the 
bottom of the river at Gutheram Cote on a level with the 
existing sill of the Black Sluice, and to give a gradual inclina- 
tion, or fall, at the rate of 3m. per mile throughout its 
length. 
2 — The erection of a new sluice on the south side of the then 
existing Black Sluice, with three openings of the width of 20ft. 
clear (one being constructed for use as a navigation lock). The 
sills to be 6ft. below the sill of the existing sluice. 
3 — The scouring out, enlarging and deepening of the Twenty- Foot 

Drain, and also the old Skirth. 
4 — The Hammond Beck from its junction with the Forty-Foot to 
Dove Hime to be deepened 3ft. on an average, so that its 
bottom at the junction should be 6in. below the sill of the 
existing Black Sluice ; and to have an inclination at the rate of 
3m. per mile as far as the Twenty- Foot Drain in Gosberton 
Fen, and above that point at the rate of 14U1. per mile. 
5 — Clay Dyke, New Cut, Heckington Head Drain, Midfodder 
Drain, and Hodge Dyke were to be scoured out and deepened, 
so as to correspond with the improved condition of the Forty- 
Foot River. 
6 — To scour out the following and any other drains in the level 
which the Commissioners are liable to keep in repair ; the Car 
Dyke from New Dyke to the north of Haconby Lordship ; the 
Scotten Dyke, Haconby Lode, Rippingale Running Dyke ; 
Dowsby Lode ; the Ouze Mer between BiUingborough and 
Horbling ; Horbling New Drain ; Swaton Eau ; Helpringham 
Eau. 

In consideration that the maintenance of the north bank of the 
River Glen (which bank from Pinchbeck Bars to Tongue End 
forms the southern boundary of the Level) is essential for securing the 
Level from partial inundation from the waters of that river, and that 
it would tend to the safety of this bank if the waters had a freer 
passage to the sea by means of its channel being scoured out and 
deepened and the sill of the Outlet Sluice lowered, the Com- 
missioners were authorised to subscribe a sum, not exceeding 
^2,000, towards the carrying out of such work ; but if the persons 
having the management of the Glen did not undertake the improve- 



267 

ment of the river, the Commissioners were at once to raise and 
strengthen the north bank of the river Glen and also that of Bourne Eau. 

Power was also given to the Trust to subscribe towards any 
works that might be carried out by the Boston Harbour Trustees, 
or others, for the improvement of the Haven ; and also towards any 
works for scouring out or deeping Risegate Eau, or any other rivers 
or drains, provided such works would tend to accelerate the passage 
of the waters from the Black Sluice Level. Power was given to 
make bye-laws ; provision was made for the exemption of the 
personal liability of the Commissioners ; for the appointment of an 
Auditor by the Proprietors of lands annually, on the first Monday in 
June ; and for compelling Owners of division dikes to keep the same 
scoured out, or in default for the Commissioners to do the work and 
recover the cost ; new regulations were laid down for the manage- 
ment of the Navigation and collection of tolls, and several other 
matters relating to the internal administration of the Trust were 
provided for. Additional taxing powers were granted to meet the 
expenses of carrying the Act into execution. The extra rate for 
building the sluice was 2s. 6d. per acre on all lands in the Level, for 
a period not exceeding four years, and not raising a greater sum 
than ^30,300. Bourne and Dyke were liable to pay only is. 3d. per 
acre, in addition to the is. 6d. to which they were already liable. 
In addition to the 2s. 6d., extra taxes for five years, for the cost of 
the improvement of the Forty- Foot and other drains, were imposed 
on the Level, in the following proportions, viz., the several rates of 
is. 6d., gd., and 6d. respectively, were doubled for a period of five 
years ; at the expiration of this period the first-named District was 
to pay 2S., the second is., and the third 8d. per acre extra. Power 
was granted to raise money on mortgage, not exceeding, in the 
whole, a sum of /"8o,ooo, in addition to the existing debt ; but after 
the expiration of five years, an arrangement was to be made for the 
extinction of the whole of the debt due by the Trust by the annual 
repayment of a sum of ^"1,200. 

The Occupiers of lands in the several parishes in the Black 
Sluice Level were empowered to lay a rate, not exceeding half-a- 
crown an acre, for any one year, for defraying the expenses of 
interior drainage. 

The Commissioners had become the Owners of a farm of 218 
acres, in Bourne North Fen, the proceeds from which had to be 
applied to the payment of ^34 5s. 5fd. towards upholding and 
maintaining the north bank of the Glen and Bourne Eau, any 
balance being applied to the payment of the drainage taxes 
charged on the lands in Bourne North Fen and Dyke Fen. 
Subject to the redemption of the payments for the Glen, the 
Commissioners were empowered to sell the farm, and pay the 
proceeds to the Proprietors of Bourne North Fen, to be applied to 



268 



C59- 1849- 



the repayment of the money expended in erecting a steam engine 
and wheel. Power was also given to sell an estate in Wigtoft 
Marsh, and to apply the proceeds to the purchasing off of the 
drainage taxes. 

The Commissioners had become possessed of this land in 
Bourne Fen under the following circumstances. Under the Bourne 
Inclosure Act of 1766 (6 Geo. iii), the Commissioners were directed 
to set out 340 acres, part of Bourne Fen, for roads and drove- ways, 
and the remainder, after that occupied by the roads, was to vest in 
the Black Sluice Commissioners, in trust, to let the same on lease, 
for periods not exceeding 21 years, the rents to be applied towards 
satisfying the tax laid upon the Xorth Bank and the North Fen, 
the deficiency, if any, to be made up from the tax levied on the 
Fen. The quantity remaining was 21 S acres, the rent from which 
was not sufficient to pay the Black Sluice Taxes until about 181 1, 
from which time till 1816, there was a surplus of over £i$ a year. 
From that period until 1839 the rent about covered the taxes. The 
farm, at this time, lets for ,£370 a year. In 1845 the surplus amounted 
to ^137 and in 1895 to ^"284 19s. iod. 

The time granted by this Act for the execution of the works, 
12 and 13 vict. and the funds provided, not being sufficient, an amended Act was 
obtained, by which the District liable to the rate of eighteenpence 
was charged, until October, 1852, with a capital tax of 2s. 3d. ; 
the Ninepenny District with is. lid-, and the Sixpenny, 
with gd. 

After the cessation of the capital tax in 1852, the general taxes 
were to be increased respectively to fourpence half-penny, twopence 
farthing, and three half-pence, making the total general taxes 
payable is. iojd., iijd. and yld. The taxes were to be paid by the 
Occupiers, half-yearly, and in default, after 2 1 days arrears, their goods 
and chattels to be liable to distraint, and a penalty of twopence in the 
s hil l in g added to the taxes due. Power was also taken to borrow 
an additional sum of ^"10,000. 

Under the powers of these two Acts the works enumerated were 
carried out. 

The new sluice was made with three openings of 20ft. each, 
one being adapted for a navigation lock. The sill was laid 6ft. 
below the sill of the old sluice, being 870ft. below Ordnance datum, or 
about level with mean low water of" spring tides in the 
estuary. 

The amount borrowed for these and previous works was 
^152,000 

In 1853. the Boston and Sleaford railway was constructed, 
running along the north bank of the Fortv-Foot Drain, from 
Boston to Swineshead Bridge. By the Company's Act it was 
provided that they should pay an annual rent of ^50 for every mile 



BLACK SLUICE- 



MONEY 
BORROWED. 



SLEAFORD 
RAILWAY. 

16 and 17 Vict., 
1853. 



EFFECT OF THE 
IMPROVEMENTS. 



269 

in length of bank over which the railway ran ; that the centre line 
of the railway should leave a clear space of 25 feet between it and 
the slope of the bank, and that the Company should maintain the 
bank. The right of a hauling way was also reserved. 

Although the works carried out effected a great improvement in 
the drainage of the Level, they were not as effectual as was anticipated, 
and as they would have been, if the recommendation of the Engineers 
who advised the Commission as to the conversion of the Car dyke 
into a catchwater drain, and the improvement of the river below the 
Black Sluice, had been carried out. The large area of high land 
water which is discharged into the main, or South Forty Foot 
Drain, over-rides the fen water and, owing to the obstructed con- 
dition of the outfall at the Black Sluice, was the source of constant 
flooding of the low lands. The hope expressed in Mr. Cubitt's 
report that all mechanical appliances for raising the water would be 
dispensed with was not realised. All the lower districts had still 
to resort to pumping, and in several cases engines have been erected 
since these works were carried out. At the present time there are 
six pumping stations in the Level. In winter the water never ebbed 
out below 7ft. on the sill of the Black Sluice, and after heavy rains 
below 10ft., rising in times of flood to i2.or 13ft. ; in exceptional 
cases to 14ft. ; and during tide time to 15ft.; and in 1880 to 17ft. In 
dry summers the silt accumulated to such an extent as completely 
to block up the Outfall, rising to 10ft. and 12ft. above the sill. In 
the dry season of 1868, the accumulation rose to 15ft. against the 
sea side of the sluice doors, causing a serious block to the outfall of 
the water when the rain came, and involving considerable labour 
in moving the sand away from the doors. 

In 1880 the Black Sluice Commissioners joined with the 
Witham Commissioners and the Boston Harbour Commissioners in 
promoting a Bill in Parliament for the improvement of the Outfall of 
the Witham. The Commissioners also promoted a separate Act, 
giving them power to raise the additional tax required. The Black 
Sluice Drainage Act, 1 880, recited in the Preamble, that by reason 43and4 vict, 
of the defective state of the Channel of the River Witham and 
of the Outfall, the discharge of water from the said river was 
impeded and in time of heavy rain and flood, the lands in the Black 
Sluice Level were subject to inundation and great injury was caused 
thereby to such lands and the crops thereon. The Act empowered 
the Commissioners to contribute ^65,000 towards the proposed Out- 
fall works, and to levy a tax of one shilling per acre over the whole 
Level, which is to be applied ; (1) to paying the interest on the 
borrowed money ; (2) in payment of the Black Sluice share of main- 
tenance and management of the Outfall works ; (3) in providing a 
sinking fund for repayment of the borrowed money, the balance, 
after paying items one and two, being applied to this purpose. The 



WITHAM OUTFALL. 

1880- 



2^0 

lands which pay the fourpenny tax to the Welland are to be 
allowed a drawback to this extent from the Outfall tax. 

The tax is paid by the Occupiers, but may be deducted from the 
rent. The high land in the following parishes, which adjoins the 
Black Sluice and drains by means of the works in this Level, but 
which is not liable to the Black Sluice taxes, is made liable for the 
Outfall tax, viz., Boston West, Skirbeck, Skirbeck Quarter, Wyber- 
ton, Frampton, Kirton, Wigtoft, Brothertoft, Swineshead, Gibbet 
Hills, Hart's Grounds, Quadring, Donington, Bicker, Gosberton, 
Surfleet, Pinchbeck, South Kyme and Dogdyke. 

The works executed under the Outfall AcT: have proved of very 
great benefit to the whole of the Level. The water, which 
previous to these works had never been known to ebb out below 4ft. 
gin. on the sill of the Black Sluice, and generally stood at about 7ft. 
in winter, has since the works were completed fallen as low as gin. 
on the sill and seldom exceeds 2ft. at spring tides, except during 
floods. In the exceptionally dry summers which have since ensued 
there has not been the same accumulation of silt as there had been 
in previous years. 
etPENino the In order to take full advantage of the improved outfall, the 

South Forty-Foot was cleaned out in 1886 and about 3ft. of deposit, 
which had accumulated in the drain since the works of 1846, was 
removed, the quantity at the lower end near the sluice being upwards 
of 6ft. The Hammond Beck, the Skirth and other drains were 
also cleaned out and deepened. 

The special taxes levied under the AcT: of 1846 ceased in 1888. 
The taxes levied now are therefore eighteenpence on the Black 
Sluice Level, ninepence on the Sixth District Level, and sixpence on 
Holland Fen, and the Outfall tax of one shilling over the whole area, 
except the land liable to the Welland tax, which pays eightpence. 

The average income and expenditure during the two years, 

1888-g and i88g-go, since the special taxes ceased, were as follows : 

Income. 

Taxes ... 

Outfall Tax 

Rents and Rent Charges ... 

Great Northern Railway, Rent of Bank . 

Navigation Tolls 

Licenses for Fishing and Boating. . . 



DRAINS. 1089- 



HATES AND 
EXPENDITURE' 



Expenditure. 
Interest and Sinking Fund 
Interest for Witham Outfall Loan 
Contribution towards maintenance of Outfall 
Works in Black Sluice District . . . 
Management 



£ s. 


d. 


8581 11 





436g 14 


7 


117 


1 


34i 5 





97 5 


4 


47 


3 


£*3553 16 


3 


£ s. 


d. 


64g 3 2 


1 


... 2475 14 


6 


atfall 1455 5 


2 


755 19 


2 


g82 ig 





£12162 ig 


11 



271 



The amount of loans outstanding in 1892 was ^112,500, against 
which was a sum of ^5,719 invested in consols. 

The following is a schedule of the parishes, the fen portions of 
which are comprised in the Black Sluice District, and the area of 
the same. 

ElGHTEENPENNY DISTRICT. 

Aslackby 

Bicker... 

Billingborough 

Bourne Fen ... 

Bourne 

Donington 

Dowsby 

Dunsby 

Gosberton 

Haconby 

Helpringham ... 

Horbling 

Morton 

Pinchbeck 

Spalding 

Cowbit 
Pointon 

Quadring Old Enclosure 

Quadring Fen 

Quadring Hundred 

Rippingale 
Sempringham 
Surfleet 
Swaton 
Swineshead East 

Wigtoft Marsh 

Swineshead Marsh 



A. 


R. P. 


PARISHES IN THC 

BLACK SLUICE 

LEVEL. 


997 


13 




2560 


2 18 




1121 


2 37 




378o 


2 29 




893 


29 




4470 


I 21 




867 


3 7 




1329 


1 6 




1 1 70 


12 




1283 


3 15 




1362 


25 




1344 


2 39 




2613 


1 22 




1864 


3 13 




1307 


3 




282 


3 35 




785 


2 




65 


3 39 




1859 


2 3 1 




400 


1 7 




"73 


2 34 




879 


2 9 




760 


32 




1394 


1 6 




620 


2 13 




127 


1 36 




300 


3 7 




356i7 


3 18 





Ninepenny District. 
{Sixth Witham District). 



Asgarby 

Ewerby 

Great Hale ... 

Heckington . . . 

Howell 

Little Hale ... 

South Kyme ... 

Swineshead West 



A. R. P. 

76 1 o 

736 o o 

1926 2 o 

2572 2 32 

290 o o 

I33 2 ! 3 

2874 o 27 

907 2 37 



IO715 2 19 



272 

Sixpenny District. 

(Holland Fen : Second Witham District.) a. r. p. 

Algarkirk 2334 o 38 

Boston... ... ... ... ... ... 1502 1 15 

Brand End Plot ... . ... ... 120 o o 

Brothertoft ... ... ... ... ... 756 3 37 

Dogdyke 277 1 38 

Fossdyke 888 o 5 

Frampton ... ... ... ... ... 1301 3 10 

Kirton ... ... ... ... ... ... 3390 3 19 

Mown Rakes ... ... ... ... ... 100 3 30 

Skirbeck Quarter ... ... ... ... 277 3 10 

Sutterton ... ... ... ... ... 2482 o 7 

Swineshead Fen ... ... ... ... 2131 3 36 

Wigtoft 980 3 31 

Wyberton ... ... ... ... ... 981 3 8 

Pelham's Lands ... ... ... ... 717 o o 

Coningsby 36 o 15 

Langriville 240 1 2 



18520 2 21 



Each of the above places is entitled to elect one Representative 
to act on the Black Sluice Drainage Commission. 



273 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The Black Sluice Districts. 



The Eighteenpenny District, or Lindsey Level. 

THIS district, formerly known as the Lindsey Level, includes b OU no»ry. 
a low tract of fen land lying between Bourne Eau and 
Helpringham Eau, and between the Hammond Beck, on the East 
and theCar Dykeon the West. Thisfen was common to the adjacent 
parishes, both in Kesteven, on the west, and in Holland, on the east; 
the main drain, called the ' Midfodder Dyke ' being the boundary 
between the two divisions of the County. The fens in the parishes 
in Kesteven only will be referred to in this Chapter, those in Hol- 
land having been dealt with in Chapter 3, On North Holland. 
Separate Acts have been obtained for the Inclosure of the fen and 
commonable lands in each of the parishes. 

Helpringham Fen. — This fen is bounded on the north by boundary. 
Helpringham Eau, on the east by the South Forty-Foot Drain, on 
the south by Swaton Fen, and on the west by the Car Dyke. It 
contains 1,363 acres. The surface of the land is about 6'8oft. above 
Ordnance datum, or i_|.|ft. above the sill of the Black Sluice. 

The fen, with other commonable lands, amounting together 



INCLOSURE ACT. 



to 3,000 acres, was inclosed under the powers of an Act, obtained in »9 Geo. m, c 
1773, ' for Dividing and Inclosing the open Common Fields, Meadow 
Grounds, Common Fen, Cow Pasture and other Commonable 
Lands in the parish of Helpringham.' The Commissioners appoin- 
ted to carry out the inclosure were Daniel Douglas of Falkingham, 
Thomas Oldknow of Nottingham ; and Richard Metheringham of 
Freiston. Each Commissioner was to be paid one hundred guineas 
for his sendees. The Commissioners were authorised to set out roads, 
the public roads being 60ft. wide; and a plot of half an acre adjoin- 
ing the Sheep Dike, to be used as a pen or fold for sheep- 
washing by the inhabitants of the parish ; and also to cause to be 
erected any banks, sluices, bridges, drains and engines that they 
should think convenient. Land was to be set out, 12ft. in width, for 
widening Heckington Eau, one half of the cost of the widening to 
be paid by Little Hale. The Award, when executed, was to be 



274 



BOUNDARY- 



INCLOSURE ACT. 

4 Geo. iii, c- 2. 
1764. 



COMMISSIONERS. 



BOUNDARY. 



INCLOSURE ACT- 

8 Geo. iii, a. 15. 
1768. 



enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace, and be open to inspection on 
payment of one shilling, and two pence for every 100 words 
copied. 

Horbling Fen. — This fen contains about 1,353 acres and lies 
between the Ouse Mer Lode and Swaton Eau, or the Old Holland 
Causeway ; extending from the Car Dyke on the west to the South 
Forty- Foot on the east. The surface is about 7-3011. above Ordnancs 
datum, or 15ft. above the sill of the Black Sluice. 

In 1764 an Acft was obtained 'for Dividing and Inclosing the 
open and Common Fields, Meadows and Common Fen in the 
Parish of Horbling, and for Draining and Improving the Fens.' 

The Commissioners appointed were S. Forster of Grantham, 
Daniel Douglas of Falkingham, John Ward of Donington, Robert 
Graves of Aslackby, William Jepson of Lincoln, Thomas Hoggard 
of Deeping Gate and John Landen of Milton. 

They were authorised to divide and allot the land, to set out 
the public roads, 40ft. wide ; and make such banks, drains, ditches, 
&c, as they thought necessary. When the Commissioners nomin- 
ated were reduced to five by death or resignation, public notice 'was 
to be given in the parish church for a meeting of the Proprietors, to 
elect two new Commissioners. The Commissioners are to meet on 
the first Monday in October in every year, ten days' notice being 
previously given, to appoint an officer for managing the drainage 
engine and other works of drainage, and to collect the rates. 

Billingborough Fen. — This Fen contains about 1,122 acres, 
is situated between the Ouse Mer and Billingborough Lodes, 
and extends from the Car Dyke to the South Forty-Foot Drain. 
The surface is about 8ft. above Ordnance datum, or from 15ft. to 16ft 
above the sill' of the Black Sluice. 

In 1768 an Act was obtained ' for Dividing and Inclosing the 
Open and Common Fields, Meadows and Common Fen, within the 
Parishes of Billingborough and Birthorpe ; and for Draining and 
Improving the Fen.' In the Act it is stated that the fen was fre- 
quently overflowed with water, and yielded but little profit, and that 
if it were embanked and drained it would be of great advantage to all 
concerned. 

John Thistlewood of Tupholm, Thomas Oldknow of Notting- 
ham, and Thomas Hoggard, of Spalding, were appointed Commis- 
sioners for dividing and alloting the land, and for making such roads, 
banks, sluices, bridges, drains and engines as they should think 
convenient for draining the land. Any public roads to be set out 
60ft. wide. The Award, when executed, was to be enrolled with the 
Clerk of the Peace of Kesteven, and be open to inspection at a fee 
of one shilling, and twopence per sheet for any copy taken. After 
execution of the Award all the works were to be vested in the Black 
Sluice Commissioners, who were to maintain them. 



275 

Pointon Fen. — This fen contains 785 acres, and lies between ,OUNM " v - 
Neslam and Aslackby Fens, running from the Car Dyke on the 
west to the South Forty-Foot on the east. Its surface is about 
8.30ft. above Ordnance datum, or 16ft. above the sill of the Black 
Sluice. 

In 1790 an Act was passed 'for Dividing and Inclosing the inclosure act. 
Common Cow Pasture, and Common Fen in the parish of Pointon, 3 ° G ™ Ui- "" 
the former being stated to contain 160 acres, and the latter 460 
acres. The Commissioners were John Parkinson of Asgarby, 
Edward Hare of Castor, and Joseph Newman of Boston, who were 
to be paid at the rate of a guinea and a half a day for their services. 
The Award, when executed, was to be kept in the parish church 
of Sempringham, and be open to inspection at a fee of one shilling, 
and twopence for every seventy words copied. The Commissioners 
were authorised to divide and allot the Common Land and to give 
directions for making such roads, bridges, drains and engines as they 
might think convenient. 

This fen is drained into the Black Sluice, through Pointon 
Lode, which is directed, by the Black Sluice Act of 1765, to be main- 
tained by the Commissioners. 

Aslackby and Dowsby. — These fens, containing about 1,883 boundary. 
acres, lie between Pointon and Rippingale Fens, and extend 
from the Car Dyke on the west to the South Forty- Foot on the 
east. 

They were divided and inclosed under an Act ' for Dividing ,N ' tos . u r e * CT ' 

. . . ° 5 Geo. 111, c. 173. 

and Inclosing a certain Common Fen in the Parishes of Aslackby and »765- 

Dowsby, and for draining and improving the said Fen ; and also 
certain Inclosed Low Lands adjoining to the said Fen.' The whole 
tract, including the low ground between the fen and the Car Dyke, 
is stated by the Act to contain 2,700 acres. The preamble also 
says that the fen was frequently overflowed, and yielded very little 
profit to those who had right of common, and that it would be a 
great improvement if the same were embanked and drained. John 
Grundy of Spalding, Thomas Measures of Pinchbeck and John 
Landen of Milton were appointed Commissioners and empowered 
to divide and allot the land ; to set out roads and make banks, sluices, 
bridges, drains and engines, as they might think necessary for improv- 
ing the fen. The Award was to be made in two parts, to be 
deposited in the parish chests kept in the churches at Aslackby 
and Dowsby, and to be open to the inspection of any person inter- 
ested, on payment of one shilling, and a fee of threepence per sheet 
for any extract made therefrom. 

On the death or resignation of a Commissioner, the surviving commissioners. 
Commissioners are directed to give notice in the Parish Churches, 
on some Sunday after Divine Service, of a meeting to be held on the 
Friday following for the purpose of electing a new Commissioner ; 



BOUNDARY* 



276 

all Owners of five acres of land,or Tenants of fifty acres,to have votes. 

The Commissioners are empowered to appoint, on the first 
Thursday in October every year, one or more Officers for the man- 
agement of the engine and drains, and for collecting the rates. 

The surface of this fen is about 8 - o5ft. above Ordnance datum, 
or I5'75ft. above the sill of the Black Sluice. 

Rippingale Fex. — This fen contains about 1,174 acres, and 
lies between Dowsby Lode on the north, and Rippingale Running 
Dyke on the south, and extends from the Car Dyke on the west, 
to the South Forty Foot Drain on the east. The surface is about 
15ft. above the sill of the Black Sluice. The drainage was very 
imperfect previous to the improvement of the Outfall of the Witham, 
the land being liable to be covered with water in high floods. 
nippiKGAix Rippingale Running Dyke, which takes the water from the high 

land to the South Forty Foot, is frequently referred to in the old 
Inquisitions of Sewers, and orders made for it to be scoured out and 
repaired. It is specially referred to in the Black Sluice Act of 1765 
as one of the drains that were to be scoured out and maintained by 
the Commissioners. 
iHCLosuDE »ct. The fen was enclosed under an Act passed in 1803 with 

43 Geo. Hi, 1803. severa i other commonable lands, and is described in the Act as 
containing 1032 acres. 

Thomas Syson of Empingham, John Burcham of Coningsby, 
and Leonard Bell of Stamford were the Commissioners appointed to 
carry out the Act, their fees being fixed at two guineas a day each. 
The Award was to be enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace of 
Kesteven and deposited at the parish church. 

Dunsby Fex. — This fen contains 1,329 acres, and lies between 
Rippingale Running Dyke on the north, and Haconby Lode on the 
south and extends from the Scotten and Car Dyke on the west, to 
the South Forty Foot on the east. 
»»«'»««■ The drainage of this Fen had become very imperfect, and the 

land subject to frequent inundation. When the water rose on the 
sill of the Black Sluice to 16ft., nearly all the whole of the fen land 
was under water. In 1876 the tenants of the land erected a centri- 
fugal pump for lifting the water off the fen into the South Forty- 
Foot Drain, at a cost of £"689. The pump was worked by a hired 
portable engine, and was calculated to discharge 900 cubic feet per 
minute, with a head of 17ft. 

In 1883 a further sum of £i,"jio was expended in a new fixed 
16 h.p. semi-portable engine and centrifugal pump and in altering 
and adapting the drains. 

The amount expended by the Tenants was subsequently repaid 
by the Owners of the land. 

The working expenses, since the erection of the fixed engine, 
have been eighteenpence an acre, in wet seasons. 



277 

Haconby.— This district consists of a tract of fen land, con- """""^ 

v '3 Geo m ' 

tainmg about 1,283 acres, lying between Haconby Lode on the 1773- 

north and Morton Fen on the south, and bounded on the west by 
the Scotten Dyke, and running up to the South Forty-Foot on the 
east. 

It was inclosed under an Act, passed in 1773. Daniel Douglas 
of Falkingham, Thomas Hoggard of Spalding, and Thomas Mew- 
burn of Stanground were appointed Commissioners to allot and 
divide the land. They were to set out such land as they deemed 
necessary for roads, the public roads being 60ft. wide, and to become 
highways ; and to give directions for making drains, sluices and 
engines. On the execution of the Award, the Black Sluice Com- 
missioners, appointed under the Act of 1765, were to put the Act in 
execution, for the purpose of embanking and draining the fen, and 
afterwards maintaining the works The Award was to be enrolled 
with the Clerk of the Peace of Kesteven, and copies furnished, at 
the rate of twopence for 90 words. A copy was to be deposited in 
the parish church. Haconby Lode is one of the drains which are 
specially mentioned in the Act of 1765, as liable to be scoured out 
and maintained by the Black Sluice Trust. 

Morton Fen. — This district consists of a tract of fen land in ,„„,,,.„. 
the parish of Morton, lying to the north of Dyke Fen, extending up 
to the Scotten Dyke on the west, and the South Forty-Foot Drain 
on the east, and containing 2,613 acres. 

This fen, together with other commonable lands, amounting .ncosure act. 
to 4,400 acres, was enclosed under the powers of an Act obtained in 8 Geo I ^'. c ' 4 *' 
1768, 'for Dividing and Inclosing the Open Common Fields, 
Meadow Grounds and Common Fen in the parish of Morton, and 
for Draining and Improving the said Fen.' The Act recites that the 
fen was frequently overflowed with water and yielded but little profit, 
and that if it were embanked, drained, divided and inclosed it might 
be improved, to the great advantage of all parties interested therein. 
Thomas Hoggard of Spalding, John Yerburgh of Frampton, and 
John Dove of Bourne, were appointed Commissioners for carrying 
out the work. The Commissioners were authorised to make all 
necessary roads and drains, banks, bridges, and engines as they 
deemed convenient. Public roads to be set out 60ft. wide. The 
Award was to be enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace for the Divi- 
sion of Kesteven, and be open for inspection to any person interested 
therein, on payment of one shilling, and a fee of twopence per sheet 
for copying any part. After the execution of the Award the works 
were to vest in the Black Sluice Commissioners, appointed under 
the Adt of 1765. 

A 16 H.P. steam engine, driving a scoop wheel, has been 
erected by the Owners of the land, for lifting the water off the fen, 
and a new Engine Drain cut, and these works are maintained by them. 



DRAINAGE 

ENQI NC 



278 

drainage j n j 8q 2 j-jjg f en was f orm ed into a Drainage District, under the 

DISTRICT- J 

55 and 56 vict, provisions of the Land Drainage Act of 1861. 

iNCLo?iinl act Bourne North Fex. — This fen was inclosed under an Act 

6 Geo. m. 1776. passed in 1776, and includes, in addition to Bourne Fen, the common- 
able fen lands in the Hamlets of Dyke and Cawthorpe. The area 
of commonable land dealt with in the Inclosure Act was 2,450 
acres ; and of fen land in the North Fen, the South Fen and Dyke 
Fen, 4,440 acres. Of this, the South Fen contains 870 acres, and, 
with additional land found on the survey, the North and Dyke Fens 
contain 3,780a. ir. 2gp. 

The Commissioners appointed were John Grundy of Spalding, 
Francis Lane of Somerby, John Landen of Milton, Daniel Douglas 
of Fafkingham and John Parker of Edenham. 

By the terms of the Act the Lords of the Manor were to have 
allotted to them 20 acres of the fens, in lieu of Brovage, and rights to 
the waste and soil ; 340 acres of the fens were to be vested in the 
Commissioners appointed under the Act, to let the same on lease, 
for terms not exceeding 21 years, the rents to be applied to paying 
the tax laid upon the North Bank and the North Fen, under the 
5 Geo. m c 86. Black Sluice Act of 1765. One-twelfth of the remainder of the fens, 
in value, was to be allotted to the Vicar, in lieu of tithes. 

The Commissioners were also to set out so much of the fens as 
would provide a cow pasture for the Owners of the commonable 
houses and toftsteads in Bourne, Dyke and Cawthorpe, as should be 
equal to two cows for each house and toftstead, but not exceeding 
three acres for each, to be used as a cow pasture from May day to 
Martinmas yearly ; the same to be depastured with sheep, at the rate 
of three sheep to a house, for the rest of the year. If the majority 
of owners in Dyke Fen wished to have their fen allotted as a cow 
pasture, they were to be allowed to do so. 

The Commissioners were empowered to set out such public and 
private roads over the fens as they deemed necessary, the former to 
be 60ft. in width and be deemed highways. 

Special provision was made for the protection of the spring 
known as ' the Well Head ' which was to be allowed to continue 
its course into Bourne Eau. 

The expenses of obtaining this Act and of a previous application 
to Parliament, and of carrying out its provisions were to be paid by 
the persons to whom the lands were allotted, in proportion to their 
value. 

The Commissioners were empowered to make such banks and 
drains and to remove or alter any works or engines thereon as thev 
might deem necessary for draining and preserving the fens. 

The land appropriated for the repairs of the South Fen Banks 
had become so cut up and exhausted that materials could not be 
got therefrom for the repair of the same, whereby they were in great 



12 Geo. 



279 

danger of being frequently overflowed. A clause was therefore 
inserted in the Act, giving Sir Gilbert Heathcote power to take soil 
from the South Fen for their repair. The cutting was not to extend 
more than 60ft. distant from the bank over and above the six score 
feet appropriated for the purpose under the Act. 

After the Award was made all the works were to vest in 
the Black Sluice Commissioners, appointed under the Act of 1765, 
who were thenceforth to be the Commissioners for embanking and 
preserving the fens. The Award was to be enrolled with the Clerk 
of the Peace of Kesteven, copies being furnished at the rate of two- 
pence for 72 words. 

Power was given to tax the lands for the amount required for 
maintenance of the works beyond that received from the rent of the 
land appropriated, not exceeding a shilling an acre in any one 
year. 

Persons found maliciously injuring the works were to be guilty 
of felony and liable to transportation. 

By a subsequent Act the land in Bourne South Fen which had tended «ct. 
been allotted as a cow pasture to the inhabitants of D)-ke and Caw. 
thorpe, as provided by the previous Act, was allotted and divided 
amongst the Commoners, by Commissioners appointed for the 
purpose, and this became a separate District. It is dealt with in the 
chapter on the parishes in South Holland. 

The land in Bourne North Fen being very imperfectly drained, 
the Owners were desirous of improving it by pumping the water out 
of the Fen, into the South Forty-Foot Drain, by steam power, 
instead of allowing it to flow there by gravitation. To this the 
Black Sluice Commissioners strongly objected, on the ground that 
the water, thus sent into the main drain by steam power, would 
have a tendency to over-ride the drains from the other fens. After 
a protracted struggle the Proprietors succeeded in obtaining an Act, n ml , 25 vict 
transferring the works of the interior drainage from the Black Sluice c - II3 ' t&4U 
Trust, to Trustees elected by the Owners of land in the fen, and 
giving authority for the erection of steam pumping machinery. 

The preamble of the Act states that " divers Engines and 
Works of Drainage were made under the Powers and Provisions 
of the Act of 1776, but such Engines afterwards became dilapidated 
and decayed and are entirely removed, and the land is liable to be 
creatly inundated and oppressed by water,and the means of Drainage 
are very imperfect and insufficient ; and that the lands might be 
more effectually drained, if power were granted for erecting and 
building in the Fens, one or more Engines to be worked by the 
power of steam, and facilitating the waters from out of the Fen into 
the Forty-Foot Drain." 

The Trustees for carrying out the provisions of the Act and for 
managing the drainage of the fen in the future, were to be the 



FORMATION OF 
SEPARATE DIS- 
TRICT. 



PUMPINQ 
MACHINERY. 



FORMATION OF 
TRUST. 



280 

Owners of 50 acres in Bourne North Fen and Dyke Fen. Such 
owners have power to nominate Agents to represent them. 

An Annual Meeting of the Trustees is directed to be held at 
Bourne, on the second Wednesday in June, every year, between the 
hours of ten and two o'clock ; five being a quorum. A notice of the 
Annual, or any Special Meetings, to be advertised in a newspaper 
circulating in Bourne, 7 days previous to the meeting. The Trustees 
have to defray their own expenses, the expense of the hire of the 
room being the only charge allowed on the rates. At the Annual 
Meeting the account of receipts and disbursements is to be presented, 
the same to be open for inspection at the office of the Clerk, and an 
abstract of the accounts to be deposited annually with the Clerk of 
the Peace. A penalty of £7.0 is provided in case of default in 
making such deposit. The ratepayers may, if they think fit, appoint 
an Auditor at the Annual Meeting to examine the accounts. 

The Trustees were authorised to borrow money to carry out 
the works to' an amount not exceeding ^"6,000. 

The works authorised were the erection of one or two engines 
with machinery and water wheels, not exceeding in the whole the 
power of 60 horses, and the diameter of the wheels not being more 
than 15ft. ; and to make new, or enlarge the old, drains and to 
maintain the same, with all the works relating thereto, in good order. 
msTRicTioN.As The Trustees are debarred by the Act from discharging water 

into the Forty-Foot Drain, when the water therein exceeds the 
height of a gauge, fixed by the Award of Engineers appointed 
specially for the purpose, power being reserved to alter the height 
of the gauge by agreement or by arbitration. The engine is also to 
suspend working for a period not exceeding 72 hours in cases of 
emergency ; a Committee of three Black Sluice Commissioners 
are appointed annually, to determine such cases of emergency and 
give the necessary notices to the Trustees, in case they should have 
a reasonable apprehension of the main drain being so surcharged 
with water as to endanger the inundation of the country below 
Bourne, and from any breach of the banks or other cause. If the 
man in charge of the Engines neglects to cease working after notice 
given, he is liable to a penalty of £\o. 

By this Act it is enacted that the Occupiers of the fen shall, 
when necessary, cleanse, deepen, widen and repair the roadway, and 
theoutring and division dykes adjoiningtheir lands, and if they neglect 
to carry out the orders of the Trustees, after 21 days notice, the 
work is to be done by the Superintendent of the Trustees at the 
cost of the Defaulter, who shall also be liable to a penalty of three 
shillings for every rod of the dyke neglected. 

The Trustees were empowered to levy rates for the execution 
of the new works, and also for their maintenance and the other 
expenses of the Trust, of 20s. per acre the first year ; 10s. the two 



TO PUMPING. 



6 Vict., u. 1843. 



MACHINERY. 



281 

following years ; and 2s. 6d. afterwards. The rates, if paid by the 
Occupier, to be repaid to him by the Owner, except in case of any 
agreement to the contrary. In default of payment, after 14 days 
public notice given, a penalty of 5s. in the £ is to be paid in addi- 
tion. Rates may be recovered by action or distress. 

In 1843 an Amending Act was obtained, by which the Black »« M|ilM 
Sluice Commissioners were discharged from any authority over the 
works of the interior drainage, and the drains and works which 
existed previous to the formation of the Bourne Fen Trust, and 
which were vested in the Black Sluice Commissioners were trans- 
ferred to the Trustees ; who were also empowered to enlarge the 
Mill Drain, and to make a new drain from it to the Forty-Foot 
Drain. Facilities were also provided for the purchase of the land 
required for improving the drainage. 

The machinery for lifting the water off the fen is situated on pumping 
the side of the Forty-Foot Drain at Gutheram Cote, and was erected 
by the Butterly Iron Company. It consists of a condensing beam 
engine of 30 N.H.P., the boiler pressure being originally 61bs., but 
now increased to gibs. The cylinder is 45 inches in diameter, and 
the stroke 6ft. The engine works an iron scoop wheel, 15ft." in 
diameter, and 4ft. 3m. wide, having 30 scoops, their length being 
3ft. ioin. The dip is regulated by a vertical shuttle placed near the 
wheel, the dip allowed being about 2ft. The maximum lift is 4ft., 
the head and dip being 6ft. The engines are stopped when this lift 
is attained, as the water is then level with the gauge fixed under the 
clause in the Act. The wheel makes \\ revolutions a minute, and 
the engine 19. With a full head, i\ tons of coal are consumed in 24 
hours. This gives a coal consumption of 20^37 lbs. per horse power, 
per hour, of water actually lifted, which is very extravagant, modern 
engines and centrifugal pumps running with a consumption of 4&lbs . 
per hour ; whilst the maximum allowed by the Dutch authorities 
is 6.60103.* 

The area of land drained is about 4,000 acres, but only 3,500 
acres are liable to taxation. 

The level of the Fen varies from 4ft. to 6ft. above Ordnance 
datum, or from 12ft. to 13ft. above the sill of the Black Sluice, which 
is 20 miles distant. 

In 1 88 1 a report was obtained from Messrs. Easton and 
Anderson, as to this machinery. They advised that it should be 
replaced with a 40 H.P. horizontal condensing engine, driving at 
6olbs. boiler pressure, a centrifugal pump of the turbine form, with 
a fan, 7ft. 4m. in diameter ; the estimated cost being ^"2,700. It 
was also ad^'ised that the drains should be improved and enlarged, 
especially the Engine Drain, considerable difficulty being found, 

'The Drainage of Fens and Low Lands by Gravitation and Steayn Power, (chap, 
iv.) by W. H. WheeJer, Span, London, 1888; 



REPORT ON r 

ENGINES, 1BB1- 



282 



WIDENING 
DRAINS. 



BHCACH OF 
BANKS* 



Hardmck v. 
Wyles. 1873. 



RATES ANO 
EXPENDITURE* 



even with the existing machinery, in getting the water to the wheel 
and feeding it fast enough. 

The recommendation with regard to the machinery was not 
carried out, but a tender was subsequently accepted by the Trustees 
from Mr. Barwell for widening and cleansing the main drains for 

In addition to the disadvantage that this fen has suffered from, 
owing to the imperfect character of the drainage arrangements, it 
has been always liable to inundation from the overflowing and 
breach of the banks of the River Glen, which consist almost 
entirely of peat. The most serious recent flood was in 1872, 
when the water in the Glen rose 2ft. higher than it had ever been 
known to do before and a breach occurred between the lock and the 
Bourne Eau Sluice at Tongue End, and about 2,000 acres of the 
fen were flooded. This breach was about 30ft. wide, and from 7ft. 
to 8ft. deep. An action was subsequently brought by the Trustees, 
to recover damages from the Black Sluice Commissioners, on whom 
the repair and maintenance of the Glen bank devolves under the 
Act of 1765. The action {Hardwick v. Wyles) was tried at the 
Lincoln Spring Assizes of 1873. The question put before the Jury 
was " whether the Commissioners took reasonable care that the 
bank in question should be in a reasonably fit and proper condition 
to protect the adjacent lands from water and floods reasonably to be 
contemplated." The jury found that they had done so ; and on a 
second question that was left to them, as to whether the Commis- 
sioners " had heightened and strengthened " according to the pro- 
visions of the Act, cjth and 10th Vict., the Jury also found in favour 
of the Black Sluice Commissioners. 

In 1877 a large breach occurred lower down the Glen, near the 
Decoy. This breach was supposed to have been caused by some 
person cutting through the bank, and a reward of ^"100 was offered 
for the discovery of the offender, but without effect. 

The maximum rate of 2s. 6d. was collected for several years, 
and until recently, to cover the expenses of the interior works. The 
rate laid in 1893 was IS - °d., and in 1894 was IS - 3d. per acre. In 
addition to this, the Fen is subject to the Eighteenpenny rate, pay- 
able to the Black Sluice Commissioners, and to the Witham Outfall 
Tax. 

From the annual return of taxation for 1892-3 the rate is 
given as producing ^285, other sources, ^"194; total, ^479. 
Maintenance of the engine and works cost ^"156, (in the previous 
year ^190), salaries and management /ioo, interest on 1 oan ^"36, 
and repayment of principal ^"151; total, £"437. The loans then out- 
standing amounted to ^585. 

Other Parishes.— The parishes already described are in the 
Kesteven Division of Lincolnshire ; the remaining parishes in the 



28 3 

Eighteenpenny District, namely Bicker, Donington, Gosberton, 
Quadring and Quadring Hundred, Surfleet, Swineshead and Wig- 
toft are in North Holland, and are dealt with in Chapter 3 ; Bourne 
South Fen in Chapter 10, on Deeping Fen ; and Pinchbeck, 
Spalding and Cowbit, in Chapter 4, on South Holland. 
The Ninepenny Black Sluice, or 
Sixth Witham District. 
This Level lies to the west of Holland Fen and contains 11,584 
acres, or, according to the Black Sluice Schedule, 10,715 acres. It 
constitutes the Sixth District of the Witham Commission, formed 
under the Act of 1762, pays a rate of sixpence an acre to that 2 Geo. m, 32. 
Trust, and sends three Representatives to the Witham General 
Commission. 

It comprises the low lands in South Kyme, Great Hale, Little boundary. 
Hale, Heckington, Lady Frazer's Six Hundred Acres, Ewerby, 
Howell, Asgarby, and some low lands in Swineshead West, and is 
described in the Act as being bounded by Holland Fen and Dog- 
dyke on the north ; Helpringham and Donington Fens on the 
south ; Bicker Fen, Hammond Beck and part of Holland Fen on 
the east ; and the high lands of Great Hale, Little Hale, Hecking- 
ton, Howell and Ewerby on the west. 

Each parish or place named elects one District Commissioner, election of 
on the first Tuesday in April, every third year, the election being 
held at the vestry room of the parish. The District Commissioners 
are directed by the Act to meet on the third Tuesday in April, every 
third year, at the George Inn, Sleaford, to elect three Representatives 
on the Witham General Trust. The qualification of a Voter is that 
he shall be a Taxpayer, being Owner of land of the value of £5 
yearly, or a Farmer at a rack rent of ^50 a year. South Kyme was 
deemed to be a parish for the purposes of the Act, and entitled to 
elect one Commissioner. If no election takes place, the District and 
General Commissioners remain in office. 

By the Black Sluice Act of 1765 this district was made part of 
the Black Sluice Trust. The drainage of the land has its Outfall in 
the South Forty- Foot, the principal drain being the Holland Dyke. 
It pays the ninepenny Black Sluice tax in addition to that paid to 
the Witham, and is liable to the Witham Outfall Tax. 

According to the Government return the rate raised in 1892-3 
produced ^"487, the expenditure in maintenance was /"281, and in 
management ^"103 ; total ^384. There was no outstanding loan. 

South Kyme Fen. — This fen contains 2,360a. or. 37p., or 
2,874a. or. 27P. according to the Black Sluice Schedule. It belongs 
to a single Proprietor, who has embanked and drained it at his own 
expense. 

It was formerly drained by a scoop wheel, 24ft. in diameter, 
driven by a 20 H.P. horizontal engine. The wheel was replaced 



COMMISSIONERS. 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE. 



PUMPING 
MACHINERY. 



BOUNDARY. 



INCLOSURE ACT. 

4 Geo. iii, c. 5. 
1764- 



HOLLAND FE 

2 Geo. iii, & 



ANCIENT 
DRAINAGE 



in 1874 by Messrs. Tuxford and Co., under the Author's direction, 
by a centrifugal pump, having the blades placed horizontally, and 
driven by a vertical shaft, geared to the existing engine. The pump 
has a disc 36in. in diameter, and is calculated to discharge 2,000 
cubic feet of water (56 tons) five feet high per minute. The pump 
drains 3,000 acres. The engine costs about £12.0 a year for coal 
and other expenses of working. 

This fen pays ninepence per acre to the Black Sluice, the Outfall 
tax, and sixpence to the "Witham, and elects one Member of the 
Black Sluice Trust. 

Heckington Fen. — This fen lies on the east side of the Car 
Dyke, and on the north side of the main road from Heckington to 
Swineshead, and runs up to South Kyme Fen on the north. It 
includes Star Fen and Truss Fen and contains a taxable area of 
2,572a. 2r. 32p. It elects one Member of the Black Sluice Com- 
mission. 

It was inclosed under an Act obtained in 1764. The total area 
of commonable land inclosed under the Act was 4,000 acres. The 
' Six Hundreds,' originally part of this fen, was not included in the 
Inclosure Award. The Commissioners were Edward Smith of 
Sleaford, Thomas Oldknow of Nottingham, John Landen of 
Walton, W illiam Gee of Swineshead, Peter Clarke of Howell, 
William Vessey of Gosberton, and Stephen Bee of Aswarby. 
They were to allot and divide the lands, to set out roads, and to 
take care that communication was preserved from the turnpike 
road to the ' Six Hundreds ' and Five \Y illow Warth ; they were 
to make provision that no trees should be planted near the two 
ancient windrnills, and that no building should be erected any further 
than 20ft. eastward of the Engine Drain. The Act directs that an 
Engineer, to take charge of the engines, banks and drains, and to 
collect the rates, shall be appointed annually on Easter Tuesday. 

In addition to the Interior taxes, this fen is subject to the Nine- 
penny Black Sluice, the Witham Outfall and the One Shilling Sixth 
Witham District taxes. 

Black Sluice Sixpenny and Witham Second District. 

Holland Fen. 
The tract of land known as Holland Fen forms the Second 
^ District of the Witham Drainage under the Witham Act of 1762. 
Originally this fen found such drainage as it had by a sluice at 
Langrick, and by Kyme Eau. Subsequently a large portion of the 
drainage was diverted by the North Forty- Foot Drain to Lodowick's 
Gowt at Boston. The fen was constantly drowned by the over- 
flowing of the water from the Witham. When the improvements 
of this river were carried out under the Act of 1762, Holland Fen 
was formed into the Second District, and made liable to a tax of 



285 

one shilling per acre, in return for the protection it received from 
flooding by the construction of the banks of the Witham. 

The Boundaries of the District are described in the Witham boundary. 
Act as Kyme Eau, the River Witham, Boston West, and Kirton 
Holme on the east and north ; South Kyme, Heckington and Great 
Hale on the west ; and the south bank of Old Hammond Beck and 
Swineshead on the south. 

Each parish, town and hamlet, the inhabitants whereof had election or 
right of pasture within the fens, was entitled by the Act to elect co "™ lss ' ONERS - 
one Commissioner. The Commissioner was to be elected at the Vestry 
of the parish on the second Tuesday in July, every third year, by 
all Owners of ten acres, or Farmers at rack rents of ^"50 a year, all 
the Householders of Brothertoft being entitled to vote. The Com- 
missioners so elected were to have the care, management and direc- 
tion of the private works necessary to be done in the District ; and 
they were directed to meet on the third Tuesday in April, at Boston, 
every three years, to elect six representatives on the Witham Getieral 
Drainage Trust. If new Commissioners are not elected the old 
Commissioners are to continue in office. 

Owing to the rights of common in Holland Fen having become 
extinct by the Allotment Award and, generally, to the alter- 
ation in the tenure of the land, very few persons remained who were 
legally qualified to vote under the provisions of the Act of 176 1. 
Accordingly, in 1853, the Witham Drainage Second District Act was 16 and 17 Vict., 
obtained, which placed the election in Owners of land often acres or c " l853 ' 
Farmers at rack rents of ^"50, and all Householders in Brothertoft. 
This District still continues to pay the Witham tax and sends six 
Representatives to the Witham Drainage Commission. 

Under the Black Sluice Act of 1765 Holland Fen was included 5 Geo. m, c. 86, 
in the lands dealt with by that Act, and the whole of the drainage 
made to flow to the South Forty-Foot Drain. Each parish in the 
Fen was entitled to send one Representative to the Black Sluice 
Trust, to be elected by Owners of land of the yearly value of £5 
and Farmers at rack rents of lands of the yearly value of ^30. All 
householders in Brothertoft have one vote. 

In 1767, an Act was obtained for enclosing and allotting the INCLOSURE ACT . 
Fen, in which it is described as " a certain Fen called the Haute 7 Geo. Hi, c 
Hautre, Eight Hundred or Holland Fen." This Act was amended ioGeo.iii,c.4o. 
three years later. The Award, made in pursuance of the Act, bears ,77 °' 

date May 19th, 1769. 

The Commissioners, appointed to enclose the fen and allot the 
land, were William Bury of Linwood, Daniel Douglas of Falkingham, 
Thomas Hogard of Spalding, Thomas Oldknow of Nottingham and 
William Elmhurst of Stainsby. 

The area of land dealt with was reputed to contain 22,000 
acres. 



286 



SALE OF LAND. 



ALLOTMENTS. 



DIVISION 
DITCHES- 



THE AWARD. 



By the Act the Commissioners were empowered to sell lands to 
defray expenses ; the first lands to be sold being those separated 
from the fen by the new cut of the River Witham ; namely, Coppin 
Syke Plot, Ferry Comer Plot and Pepper Gowt Plot, also Brand 
End Plot, separated by the new cut of the South Forty- Foot ; and 
after these, Gibbet Hills. Charles Anderson Pelham was directed by 
the Act to have allotted to him 120 acres of land adjoining Great 
Beats, in satisfaction ofhis rights, as Lord of the Manor of Earl's Hall, 
and to the Brovage or Agistment of 480 head of cattle ; and to 
Zachary Chambers, for his rights as Lord of the Manor of Swines- 
head, 120 acres in Brand End. The remainder of the fen was to be 
allotted to the several parishes of Boston West, Skirbeck Quarter, 
Wyberton, Frampton, Kirton, Algarkirk, Fossdyke, Sutter ton, Wig - 
toft, Swineshead, Brothertoft, and Dogdyke, all having right of 
common in the fen. The land allotted was deemed to be in the 
parish to which it was awarded. 

The Commissioners were to set out such roads, drains and bridges 
as they deemed necessary, the public roads to be (Soft. wide. They 
were also to set out a plot of land in Amber Hill, not exceeding 30 
acres, for the purpose of obtaining materials for the repair of the 
Boston and Donington turnpike road which passed through part of 
the fen and ' was very beneficial to the country,' and also for the 
other public roads set out under this Act. 

The land awarded to each parish was to be divided by an 
outring ditch, not less than 8ft. wide at the top and 4ft. deep, with 
quick planted at the side ; this hedge and ditch to be afterwards 
maintained by the parish, as set out in the Award. 

The Award was to be enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace for 
Holland, and a copy deposited in the church or chapel of each 
respective parish or township, to be open for inspection on payment 
of a fee of one shilhng, and twopence for every 100 words extracted. 

The land sold by the Commissioners was as follows, realising 
the amounts given. The average is ^"23 10s. an acre. 









a. 


r- P- £ 


VALUE OF LAND 


Coppin Syke Plot 


... 


214 


2 23 3630 


SOLD. 


Ferry Corner Plot 


... ... ... 


18 


2 2 4 375 




Pepper Gowt Plot 


... 


I 3 


20 380 




Brand End Plot 


... 


25 


1 32 520 




J! JJ J9 


... 


2 


3 14 5 6 




Gibbett Hills... 


... 


J 74 


4400 




Hall Hills ... 


... 


2 3 


2 10 1050 




Gowt Plot ... 


... . . ... 


80 


1970 




Land near the old Witham Marshes 


45 


1300 




Shuff Fen 




45 


1 1440 




642 


2 3 15121 



287 












The land allotted was as follows 


: — 












a. 


r. p. 


a. 


r. 


P- 


Sir Charles Frederick (Brothertoft) 










Great Shuff Fen 






75 6 


3 


27 


Earl Fitzwilliam (Dogdyke) Terry 










Booth 




. . • 


277 





7 


Zachary Chambers (Smeeth Hall) 










Brand End Plot 


... 




120 








C. A. Pelham 












Pelham's Lands ... 


120 











,, ,, — ... 


571 


18 














691 





18 








Skirbeck Quarter. 












Douran's Piece 


3 


3 33 








Great Fen ... 


77 


3 16 








>> )) — 


183 


3 34 


265 


3 










3 


Wyberton. 












Bridge Piece 


87 


22 








Bridge Piece and Middle Fen 


169 


3 14 








Great Fen ... 


473 


29 








Shuff Fen 


261 


1 15 








* 






991 


-^ 


O 


Frampton. 












Bridge Piece 


262 


3 16 








Middle Fen 


468 


3 1 








Great Fen ... 


526 


1 33 














1258 





10 


Kirton. 












Bridge Piece 


197 


2 20 








Syke Mouth 


308 


1 17 








High Fen, High Fen Bottom, 












Great & Little Smeeth Hall 


2942 


26 














3448 





23 


Algarkirk. 












Clay Hills, Little Sand Hills, Fleet 










Bank, Common Rakes ... 






2380 


1 


22 


Fossdyke. 












Gowt Plot, Langret Plot... 






879 


2 


30 


Sutterton. 












High Fen Bottom, Amber Hill, 










Amber Bottoms, Brayforth Rose 










Plot, Terry Booth 






2488 


2 


23 


Wigtofi. 












Fore Fen ... 


293 


2 38 








Syke Mouth, Bridge Piece, 












Creasy Plot 


700 


2 36 














994 


1 


34 


Switushead. 












Chapel Hill Hum ... 


88 


30 








Great Smeeth Hall 


2I 5 


2 4 








Common Rakes, Far Cattle 












Holme ... 


705 


2 4 









288 



Brand End Rushes 
Fore Fen Rushes ... 
Creasy Plot, First 
Holme, Fore Fen 


Cattle 


a. 

330 
537 

197 


r. p. 
3 6 
2 25 

2 25 


Boston West. 
Drowned Piece 

,, j) ■■- 
ShuffFen 


65 

30 

1418 


24 

1 7 
1 23 



2075 I 14 



1513 3 H 
18140 2 35 

The above places, with the addition "of Brothertoft containing 
756a. 3r. 37p., Dogdyke 277a. ir. 38p., Mown Rakes 101a., Con- 
ingsby 36a. or. 15P., Langriville 240a. ir. 2p., are each entitled to 
elect one Commissioner to the Black Sluice Trust. 
condition The condition of this fen previous to its drainage and inclosure 

or.inage. has already been described. Mr. Parkinson, who was largely em- 
ployed as an Inclosure Commissioner, estimated the rental value of 
the land, previous to the improvement works, at ^"3,600, or an aver- 
age of about three shillings and threepence per acre ; and after the 
works were completed and the land allotted and fenced, at ^21,700, 
or an average of nineteen shillings and ninepence per acre. Taking 
the improved value at /i8,ioo and computing this at 25 years' pur- 
chase the increased value would represent a capital amount equal 
to ^"452,500, which was gained at an expenditure of ^"50,600. 
fencing. Three years after the first Inclosure Act it was found necessary 

7 Geo. iii, c. 40. (- obtain further powers, and an amending Act was obtained. In 
the preamble it recited that the post and rail division fences, which 
had been erected by the Commissioners, had been pulled down for 
many miles and destroyed, and that, therefore, it was desirable to 
remove the remainder and make division ditches instead, and power 
was given by the Act to do this, and also for repaying to 
Edward Draper, Clerk to the Commissioners, the expenses he had 
incurred in prosecuting the offenders. The ditches between the 
plots allotted to the several parishes and townships were not to ex- 
ceed 10ft. in width, and 4ft. deep; and the Second District 
Commissioners were directed to scour and repair the ditches 
assigned to Boston West, Skirbeck Quarter, Wyberton, Frampton, 
Kirton, Algarkirk, Fossdyke, Sutterton, Wigtoft and Swineshead; 
and to lay the rates necessary for raising the money for executing 
the work. 
the parish Tne Pl° ts of land m Holland Fen not specially allotted to any 

allotments, parish, including those sold and awarded to the Lord of the Manor 
and other Proprietors, remained extra-parochial places. The 
allotment to the parishes also being several miles from the village 



289 

and church, caused very considerable inconvenience to the inhabi- 
tants, not only for ordinary parochial purposes, but also especially 
with reference to the carrying out of the requirements of the Sani- 
tary and Education Acts. To remedy this, under the Divided 
Parishes A ct, these places were either parochialised and formed into 
new, or added to adjacent, parishes. The parish of Amber Hill was 
formed in 1880, and consists of the extra-parochial place, known as 
Amber Hill, containing 30 acres, Algarkirk Fen and Sutterton 
Fen, and the portion of Dogdyke in Holland Fen, making 
altogether 5,261 acres. The outlying portion of Swineshead at 
Chapel Hill Hum was added to the tract of land near the Witham, 
known as Pelham's Lands, which, with the Beats Plot, was origi- 
nally awarded to Mr. C. A. Pelham, as Lord of the Manor, and was in 
1883 formed into a parish, called Pelham's Lands, containing 803 
acres. Fossdyke Fen was added to the parish of Brothertoft, for 
civil purposes, in iSSr, and forms part of the ecclesiastical parish 
of Holland Fen. The Mown Rakes, containing 100 acres, and Hall 
Hills, containing 20 acres, were each made into parishes and added 
to Boston Union in 1886. 

Kirton Fen remains a portion of Kirton parish for Poor Law, 
School Board, and other civil purposes, but for ecclesiastical pur- 
poses it is in the parish of Holland Fen. The ecclesiastical wants 
of the fen had been partly provided for under the Act obtained in 
1812, giving powers to constitute a Chapel-of-Ease to Fossdyke 
in Holland Fen. In 1867 a church was erected for this 
parish, in Algarkirk Fen, by the Rev. B. Beridge, at a cost of 
£4,500. 

The ecclesiastical parish of Holland Fen was formed by order 
of the Queen in Council, in 1885, and contains 10,250 acres, and 
comprises the Fen Allotments of Algarkirk, Sutterton, Kirton and 
Fossdyke. 

It will thus be seen that some portions of Holland Fen are in 
one parish for civil purposes and in another for ecclesiastical 
purposes. 

For educational purposes two School Boards have been 
formed, viz., the South West Holland Fen Board, formed in 1880, 
which takes the civil parish of Amber Hill and Dogdyke (detached) ; 
and the North East Holland Fen Board, formed 1879, taking 
Brothertoft, Fossdyke and the civil parish of Pelham's Lands, and 
Ferry Corner Plot, Hart's Grounds and North Forty-Foot Bank. 
Kirton Fen is provided for by the Kirton Parish School Board. 

The roads in Holland Fen were formerly in a very unsatis- 
factory state, but after 1878 were managed by a Highway Board. 
The particulars relating to this will be found in the chapter on 
Roads. In 1895 the Highway Board ceased to exist, its powers 
passing to the District Council. 



NEW PARISHES 
FORMED. 

20 Vict., u. ig. 



HIGHWAYS) 



2go 

The particulars of the allotment and inclosure of the fen 
portion of the several parishes in Holland Fen will be found in 
Chapter 3, on North Holland. 
drainage. The drainage of the fen is effected principally by the North 

Forty-Foot Drain, the Fifteen-Foot and Clay Dyke, these three 
drains ru nnin g parallel with each other through the fen, and dis- 
charging into the South Forty- Foot. 

South Kyme Low Grounds, although north of Kyme Eau, 
drains through this district by means of Damford Tunnel, which 
passes under the Eau, and is connected with the Merry Lands 
Drain, the water passing along this drain and Gill Syke to the 
South Forty-Foot. 
pati. The annual rate is sixpence an acre, in addition to which there 

is the Witham rate of is. an acre, the Black Sluice rate of sixpence 
and the Witham Outfall Rate. 



2gi 



CHAPTER IX. 

The Rivers Welland and Glen. 



Bicker Haven and Crowland Washes. 

THE River Welland borders upon the County of Northampton the welland. 
on the one side, and the Counties of Leicester, Rutland, and 
Lincoln on the other. It springs at Sibbertoft fields, in the county 
of Northampton, not far from the head of the Nene and the Avon, 
and flows thence by Harborough and Collyweston through Stam- 
ford, Market Deeping, Crowland, Spalding and Fossdyke, to Boston 
Deeps in the Wash. 

At Great Easton it is joined by the Eyebrook, a small stream 
about 10 miles in length ; about half a mile above Stamford the 
Chater, another tributary, about 12 miles in length, enters the river, 
and at about the same distance below Stamford, the Gwash or 
Wash, a stream about 20 miles in length, joins it. 

The Welland enters the Fen Country a little below Peakirk, Fig. 12. chap, 
and from this place it has from time to time been embanked, 
deepened and improved. Between Crowland and Spalding the 
banks are set a considerable distance apart, leaving a large area of 
land subject to flooding, called ' the Washes.' Below Spalding 
the banks are close to the channel, which is narrow and confined. 

At the Reservoir, about five miles below Spalding, the Welland 
is joined by the Glen. Below Fossdyke the channel passes through 
the open marshes and lands, for seven miles, to the Wash, and unites 
with the Witham in Clay Hole, at the head of Boston Deeps. Part 
of the water is sometimes diverted to the east and finds its way 
through the South Cots Channel to the Gat, and so to Lynn Well. 
For three miles below Fossdyke the channel has been trained with 
fascine work. Below this the course is through shifting sands and 
the channel is very tortuous. 

The Welland is 72 miles long and drains 707 square miles, Fig. 4 . chap. 4. 
of which 120 miles (76,854 acres) are fen land. It has a tidal 
course of 20 miles, spring tides flowing some distance above Spald- 
ing, and occasionally reaching as far as Crowland. Spring tides 
rise from 4ft. to 8ft. at Spalding, according to the condition of the 



292 



DRAINAGE AREA. 

Dngdale. 
Fig. 4- 
121&72. 



THE GLEN. 



DRAINAGE AREA* 



1324. 

Dngdale's 

Embanking and 

Draining. 



BICKER HAVEN. 

Fig. 10. Chap. 
7- 



channel. The mean inclination of the surface of the water between 
Spalding and low water of spring tides in the estuary, a distance of 
15 miles, is 14U1. per mile. In floods this is increased to 21 inches 
per mile. The inclination is not regular. Between Spalding and 
Fossdyke the fall is at the rate of 2ft. per mile, in the trained portion 
of the channel below Fossdyke, gin. per mile, and in the untrained 
part, i8in. per mile. 

The average waterway of the river at Spalding is about 40ft., 
and the area in floods 400 square feet. The drainage area discharg- 
ing there is 30,000 acres, giving 750 acres to one square foot. 
Below Fossdyke the capacity of the channel, allowing for the 
increased area draining there, is about double this. 

Formerly, and up to about the 17th century, when the works 
for the drainage of the Bedford Level were carried out, the Wel- 
land divided at Crowland, one branch flowing through Spalding, 
the other joining a branch of the Xene at Xo Man's Land Hirne, 
and discharging at Cross Keys Wash. In the reign of Henry III, a 
presentment was made, " setting forth that there were two courses 
of water in the common river of Crowland ; the one nearer (by 
Spalding) and the other more remote, and that the nearer current 
was the right channel, and of sufficient depth, wherein they that 
did go by barges and boats might well pass to and fro, but that the 
Abbot of Crowland had, by planting willows thereon, so obstructed 
and straightened (narrowed) the said course of that stream, that 
boats and barges could not pass as formerly they had." 

The Glen rises near Boothby Pagnel and passes near Corby, 
Little Bytham and Greatford. Entering the fen country at Kate's 
Bridge near Thurlby, it flows between Deeping and Bourne Fens, 
and thence passing through Pinchbeck, joins the Welland, after a 
course of 15J miles from Kate's Bridge, at the Reservoir. 

The area of high land drained by the Glen above Kater Bridge 
is 109J square miles. Below this point the channel is confined 
within banks to the Outfall. Where it passes through the fen the 
bottom is above the surface of the land. 

The Glen was frequently described in the old Commissions of 
Sewers as ' Brunne Ee.' Thus in the reign of Edward III the 
Commissioners found that " the water called Brunne Ee (m the 
margin, ' now the Glene ') which had its course through the midst of 
the town of Pincebec, had its banks broken." 

Below the junction of the Glen with the Welland, where the 
river used to enter the open estuary, a small bay or arm of the sea 
extended inland, on the west side, as far as Bicker. This bay was 
embanked by the Romans, and the course of the banks may be traced 
at the present day. The south-west bank, known as the Gosberton 
Bank, commences a little below the reservoir and continues in a 
north-westerly direction past Lampson's Clough, where the old 



293 






Dximrairtqiim., t CTlCLJV- 9 

3Ukep 




m Sja JZbussons. 



K>'rfe»«,J&. 



BICKER HAVEN: 

JFronvJUcueuallfljtp 

1643. 



Risegate Ea emptied into the Haven, this drain being now con- 
tinued across the site of the Haven ; thence by the Wykes to Hofleet, 
thence back by Linga House and round Sutterton marsh to Foss- 
dyke. The length was 5J miles, the width at the lower end, across 
the mouth, 2 miles, and the upper end near Hofleet about one mile, 
the total length of the banks being about 1 2 miles. The area be- 
tween the banks is 6,000 acres. 

That it was of some importance in the time of the Romans, 
may be inferred from the fact that it was deemed necessary to carry 
the river bank round the Haven, instead of across the mouth. 

The earliest reference to Bicker Haven is in the charter of 
Crowland, in the ninth century, in which mention is made of four 
salt pans in the parish of Sutterton. These salt pans are frequently 
referred to subsequently and are mentioned in Domesday book. 
Traces of these salt pans on the margin of the Haven are still 
visible. 

The Haven appears to have gradually warped up and become 
marshland. Between the Xlth and XIYth centuries about 340 



294 



THE INCLOSURE 
Or THE HAVEN. 

Fig. H. 

State Papers. 
Domestic. 1615. 



COM HISS'ONS Or 
SEWERS. 



Dngdale. 



Dugdale. 



acres in the parish of Gosbertoii had become sufficiently high to be 
enclosed. In the reign of Edward III, a great dispute occurred 
between the Abbots of Swineshead and Peterborough as to whose 
the accreted land should be, the decision being given in favour 
of the ancient custom, " that all and singular Lords possessing any 
manors or lands upon the sea coast had usually the silt and sand 
cast up to their lands by the tides. " 

A considerable area of land lying between Bicker and Gosber- 
ton drained into the Haven. 

In 1415 an order was made that the River of Bicker, which 
flowed into this haven at its upper end, should be kept open to a 
breadth of 24ft. 

The time when Bicker Haven was enclosed is uncertain. It 
was not embanked in 1654, as Blaeu's map of that date shows it 
then open. It was probably included in a grant of ' salt marshes left 
by the sea,' in Wigtoft, Moulton, Whaplode and Holbeach, made to 
the Earl of Argyle by King James in 16 15, which marshes were to 
be ' Lined and embanked ' from the sea. It was most likely embanked 
in about 1660, when the marshes in South Holland were taken in. 

The Welland and the Glen are frequently mentioned in the old 
Commissions of Sewers. In the reign of Edward II, an order was 
made that " fishermen should not prejudice the common sewer by 
lepes, weels, or other obstructions, whereby the passage of the 
waters of Spalding and Pinchbeck towards the sea might be 
hindered," and, in another Commission in the following reign, an order 
was made, finding that the banks of the Glen were broken and "that 
they ought to be made higher, and that the water should thence- 
forth be stopped below the Welfares, and, because that could not 
possibly be done by reason of the water coming from far, upon 
great falls of rain against which the said town could not provide, 
except there were a reasonable outlet made to the sea by the River 
of Surflet, which was too narrow by 20ft., and that unless it were 
widened to that proportion the town of Pinchbec would be over- 
flowed every year ; and that at every bridge it ought to be made 
12ft. in breadth, at least, up to Dove Hirae and Goderam's Cote ; 
also that the Galwe Gote ought to be repaired anew by the town 
of Pincebec and all the Landholders in Spalding on the north side 
of Westlode ; and that the sewers thereof ought to be 16ft. in breadth ; 
also that neither flax nor hemp should be watered in that sewer 
upon pain of forfeiture thereof." 

In 1323 a Commission reported that the sea banks of Pinch- 
beck and the marshes were broken by tempestuous waves, and 
should be repaired and made higher and thicker ; also that the 
River Glen was too narrow in Surfleet, being only 20ft. wide, and 
that unless it was widened by the town of Pinchbeck it would be 
overflowed every year. 



295 

At another Commission, held at Thetford, it was presented that 
" all the ditches and banks, from Kate Brigg in Kesteven unto the 
sea in Holand, were broken on each side, and did then stand in need 
of repair ; that is to say — to be raised higher by 2ft. and thicker by 
12ft. ; and that the towns of Thurlby, Obthorpe, and Eyethorpe, 
lying to the north side of Kate Brigge, ought at their own proper 
charges, to repair, dig and cleanse the same ; and from the said 
Cross to Abbottescot, on that side the town of Brunne." A little 
later, another Commission decreed that the Glen was not sufficiently 
wide "to admit of the proper discharge of the waters which it 
brought down from the higher part of the country, so that the fens 
on either side were drowned, and that it ought to be widened from 
Gutheram's Gote to the sea, so that at Surfleet it should be 20ft. 
wide ; and that the work ought to be done by the persons who 
owned the land abutting on the river." The same Commission also 
presented that the great bridge, called ' Spalding Brigge,' was then 
broken, and ought to be repaired at the charges of the whole town ; 
and also that the marsh banks, being then broken in divers places, 
should be repaired. The Commission further ordained that all per- 
sons, as well rich as poor, should be liable to all ' mene works,' as 
well for the repairs of the sewers as the banks ; and that every 
man, having a messuage and 10 acres of land, should find one 
tumbril or cart, and those who had less, one able man of not less 
than 1 8 years of age ; or, instead of the cart and horse, a money 
payment of fourpence, and instead of the man, of twopence per 
day. 

The widening and deepening of the Glen formed part of Lovell's 
scheme for the reclamation of Deeping Fen, his undertaking being 
' to make it at the least 6ft. deep and 40ft. wide, from the beginning 
of Surfleet, which had always been accounted from Newbury.' 
The locality of Newbury is not known. 

In the 14th century, Spalding was presented by the Jurors be- 
fore the Justices, because the town had neglected to scour out and 
repair the river Welland, where it passed through its jurisdiction, 
by reason of which neglect, great damage had accrued to the King's 
liege people. The inhabitants of Spalding, being summoned by the 
' Shiereeve ' to answer the charge, pleaded that the river then was, and 
long had been, an arm of the sea, wherein the tides did ebb and 
flow twice in 24 hours, and that therefore there was no obligation 
on them to repair it. 

In 161 6 a Commission of Sewers ordered that the Welland 
should be sufficiently "roded, hooked, haffed, scoured and cleansed " 
from side to side to the old breadth and bottom, thrice every year ; 
and that no person should make any " drains, wayes, gra veils, wares, 
stamps, stakes, flakes, herdells, cradgings, or other annoyances over 
the river." 



THE WELLAND. 



296 



SIR C- EDMONDS' 
REPORT. 1619. 



In a report made to the Privy Council in the reign of James I, 
by Sir Clement Edmonds ' on the state of the Fens upon a general 
Weils. view, taken in August, 1618,' the following account of the Welland 
is given. "The River Welande, running by Stamford, Deeping 
and Spalding to the sea, was likewise viewed by the Commissioners 
and found to be a very fair, open, and clean river down as far as 
Croyland, but from thence to Spalding very defective, for want of 
dykeing and cleansing ; and from Spalding to the meeting of this 
water with the river of Glen, near unto the sea, almost silted up for 
want of dykeing, and a current of fresh water to scour the channel ; 
insomuch as they were forced below Spalding, at the time of this 
view, and in sight of all the company, to carry their boats by cart 
the space of 3 or 4 miles, to a place called Fosdyke (where great 
ships lay at anchor) for want of a current at a low water, to carry 
them down the Channel ; and the inhabitants of Spalding did com- 
plain that they had no water in the river to serve the necessary use 
of the town, but such as was unwholesome by reason of the shallow- 
ness thereof, which was less than half-a-foot deep, two miles below 
the towne, where the Committee now in the view did ride over." 

After this, the Adventurers of Deeping Fen deepened the 
Welland from Waldram Hall (near St. James' Deeping) to Spalding, 
and thence to the Outfall. 

In 1634 a traveller crossing the washes from Lynn to Spalding 
gave the following account of the condition of the river. " We 
feared somewhat as we entered the town, seeing the bridge pulled 

HiSoricai 3 'iUus- down, that we could not have passed the river, but when we came 
(rations. ^ Q -^ we f oun( ] no t s0 much water in it as would drown a mouse. 
At this the town and country thereabout much murmured ; but let 
them content themselves, since the fen drainers have undertaken 
to make their river navigable, 40ft. broad and 6ft. deep, from 
Fossdyke Slough to Deeping, which they need not be long about, 
having 600 men daily at work at it. Early the next morning we 
heard the drum-beat, which caused us to enquire the reason thereof 
and roused us from our castle ; and it was told us it was for a 
second army of water ingeniers." This refers to the works carried 
out by Lovell. 
vermu, ocn<s Sir Cornelius Vermuiden, in his scheme for draining the Great 

scHcac. TS4.. Level of the Fens contained in ' the discourse ' which he presented 
to the King, described the fens as being often flooded, owing to 
the overflowing of the rivers, especially the Glen, which frequently 
drowned Deeping Fen by the breaking of the banks, which in his 
opinion were set too close together ; and from two slakers or inlets, 
whereby the waters, when the banks could not contain them, were let 
into the fen. These slakers he describes as ' an issue in a corrupt body 
where there is a neglect to take away the occassion by a known remedy. ' 
He advised that the Glen and the Welland should be diverted to the 



CONDITION OP 

THE WELLAND IK 

1634. 



297 



Nene at Guyhirne, and so to have one Outfall for the three rivers, 
which he considered would be less costly than making two Outfalls 
and would form a more perfect Outfall. A ' Sasse,' or sluice was 
to be put in the Welland at Waldram Hall, for navigation and to 
provide water for the country in summer. By doing this, he 
estimated that ' Elow ' (South Holland) would be worth more by 
^"50,000 to /"6o,ooo than if drained the other way. He contended 
that the lands in South Holland descend from Spalding towards the 
Shire Drain, and therefore must have their best issue towards the 
Nene by the Shire Drain ; also, that the Welland ran on a higher 
bottom than the Nene, and that the latter had 3ft. better Outfall 
than the Welland ; that two rivers brought into one would make a 
better Outfall and serve the county better ; that if the two Outfalls 
were maintained, it would cost ^"2,000 more to drain the fens. To 
this, a reply was made in a pamphlet written by Andrewes Burrell, 
Gent., in which he refers to Sir C. Vermuiden's discourse as being 
' contrived in a mystical way with many impertinent objections and 
answers in it of purpose to dazzle the King's apprehension of the 
worke.' He considered that the diversion of the Welland and the 
Glen to the Nene would cause the Outfalls of those rivers to be 
silted and choaked up, and ' consequently that conceit would 
occasion the drowning of the lands that lie on either side of the 
Welland from Waldram Hall to Spalding ' ; that of late years, 
during winter floods, a great part of the Welland floods had forsaken 
their proper channel and passed through Crowland and then into 
Borough and Thorney Fens, and so stole to the sea by the Wisbech 
Outfall, because the Welland was filled up with silt or sand, and 
was not half so deep as it was made by the late Undertakers of 
Deeping Fen. 

In 1650 a bank running from Peakirk to Brotherhouse along 
the Washes was constructed by the Adventurers of the Bedford 
Level to protect the North Level from the flood water of the 
Welland. This bank was made 70ft. broad at the bottom and 8ft. 
high, and the high road was made to run on the top, between 
Brotherhouse and Spalding. It was probably an enlargement of 
the one formerly made by the Abbot of Crowland, by order of a 
decree made in the reign of King Henry III, directing him to make 
a road from his abbey towards Spalding, as far as a place called 
Brotherhouse, when he pleaded that it would be a very difficult 
and expensive work, " because it was a fenny soil, and by reason of 
the lowness of the ground, in a moorish earth, it would be a difficult 
matter to make a causey fit and durable for passengers ; because it 
could not be made otherwise than upon the brink of the river 
Welland, where there was so much water in winter time that it 
covered the ground an ell and a half in depth, and in a tempestuous 
wind two ells, at which time the ground on the side of that river 



A. Barrell. 
1642. 



BROTHE1HOUSI 
BANK. I66O. 



298 



Ingalph. 



THE WELLAND, 
1TT*- 

2 Geo. iii, c. 25. 



WELUND ACT. 

34 Geo. iii, c 
102, 1794. 



Figs. 12 and 14. 



was often broken by bargemen and mariners, and by the force of the 
wind so torn away ; so that in case a causey should be made there, 
it would in a short time be consumed and wasted away by the 
power of those winds, except it were raised very high and broad, 
and defended by some means against such dangers." The plea of 
the Abbot was admitted, but the men of Kesteven and Holland 
again urging on the King the necessity there was for a road, the 
Abbot at last undertook the construction, on condition that he 
might levy for seven years tolls sufficient to reimburse the cost and 
afterwards to maintain the road in good order. 

In 1439, owing to excessive rains, the banks of the Welland 
being again overflowed and the country inundated, a Commission of 
Sewers held at Wainfleet ordered the Abbot of Crowland to repair 
the embankment of the Welland, extending from Brotherhouse to 
Crowland. This bank is now maintained by the South - Holland 
Drainage Commissioners, and further particulars relating to it will 
be found in Chapter XI. 

In the Act obtained by the Adventurers of Deeping Fen, in 
1774, powers were obtained to remove all wharves, buildings or 
other obstructions made on the sides of the Welland within the 
town of Spalding, between Hawthorne Bank and the outfall at 
sea ; and it was enacted that the channel should be maintained at a 
width of 65ft. 

The river was widened about this time from the locks to the 
High Bridge. These locks were constructed to run the water from 
the Welland into the Westlode, to ease the Washes. They were 
removed in 1S15. 

In the year 1794 an Act was obtained for improving the Outfall 
of the River Welland, and for the better Drainage of the lands dis- 
charging their water by this river ; and also for making a New Cut 
from the Reservoir to Wyberton Roads. 

The Preamble of this Act states that the Outfall of the water 
of the river was very defective, and the navigation much impeded ; 
also that there were large tracts of fens and low grounds, including 
Deeping Fen and the Commons, and land lying between Spalding 
and Wyberton, which were subject to be overflowed and injured by 
the downfall of rain thereon, and that this could be improved by 
cleaning the present channel of the river and making a new cut for 
the lower part. 

To carry out the works, John Hudson of Kenwick Thorpe; 
George Maxwell of Fletton, and Edward Hare of Castor, were 
appointed Commissioners, their remuneration being fixed at ^"2/2/0 
a day. They were empowered to appoint such Officers as they 
deemed necessary. 

The works set out in the Act are as follows, viz., to cleanse and 
scour out the channel of the Welland from the Reservoir to Shep- 



299 

herd's Hole, and thence to make a new navigable river across the 
open salt marshes in the parishes of Surfleet, Algarkirk, and the 
inclosed land in Fossdyke, Kirton, Frampton and Wyberton, to 
Wyberton Roads, where at that time the Witham had its course, 
the termination being near ' the public Alehouse, known by the 
sign of the Ship.' This new cut was to be 50ft. wide at the bottom, 
and was to have at its lower end " a new sea sluice of stone and 
bricks, supported by dovetailed or grooved piling, or by inverted 
-stone arches, with pointing doors to sea and land ; the threshold 
thereof being laid one foot below low water mark." The waterway 
was to be 50ft. wide with a navigable lock 60ft. long and 18ft. wide. 
The old channel of the river was to have a dam made across it at 
the Reservoir, sufficient ' to stem the tides and to turn the land floods 
into the new river.' For the purpose of preserving the navigation 
of the river above the New Cut, another navigable lock was to be 
placed across the river, having eleven openings, the middle opening 
being not less than 18ft. wide ; a navigable lock was also to be made 
across the Glen, with three openings, the centre one being not less 
than 12ft., if the Commissioners found that this became necessary 
to preserve the navigation of the Glen. 

To meet the cost of carrying out this work the Commissioners 
were empowered to lay the following yearly taxes, viz., in Deeping in- 
closed Fen, and all the fen lands and on the Commons, one shilling 
per acre ; the inclosed lands in Spalding and Pinchbeck between 
the Glen and the Westlode, sixpence ; lands in Pinchbeck, except 
the North Fen, twopence ; lands in Surfleet, Gosberton, Sutterton 
and Quadring, Algarkirk, and Fossdyke, draining by the Risegate 
Eau or the Five Towns Drain, twopence. The taxes were to be 
levied by the Officers of the Court of Sewers, and the proceeds paid 
to the Trustees. 

A new bridge, 16ft. wide, was to be built over the New Cut in 
the direction of the road from Boston to Fossdyke Inn, and the road 
across the marsh was to be made good from Fossdyke to Moulton. 
The Commissioners were authorised to collect tolls from persons 
using the bridge; They were also to set out the boundaries of the 
lands adjoining the old channel, and to define the line where the 
rights of the Frontagers terminated. These lands were to vest in the 
Trustees and be embanked when sufficient accretion had taken place 
to make them fit for the purpose. 

Upon the completion of the works the Commissioners were to 
vacate office, and a permanent Trust be created, composed of the Lords 
of the Manors ; the Rectors and Vicars of the several parishes ; the 
principal Landowners ; the Mayor of Boston and two members ap- 
pointed by the Town Council ; the Mayor and senior Alderman of 
Stamford ; the Owners of the navigation of the YVelland ; there 
persons chosen by merchants resident in Spalding ; two by the 



300 

Owners of the salt marshes on the south side of the channel ; two each 
by Holbeach, Whaplode, Moulton, Frampton and Wyberton ; nine 
by the Adventurers of Deeping Fen ; three by the Landowners in 
Holland and Kesteven, having rights on the commons ; the Owners 
of the Postland Estate and every Owner of ioo acres paying the taxes, 
lessopand I Q a re P° rt made by Messrs. Jessop, Rennie, Maxwell and 

others"Report. Hare, dated August 1 1, 1800, on the Drainage of Deeping Fen, they 
advised that " as a temporary improvement of the Outfall and until 
means may be found to effect the whole, that part of the New Cut- 
provided for by the Welland Act be executed, namely, from Shep- 
herd's Hole, through the Salt Marshes of Surfleet and Algarkirk, to 
near Fossdyke Inn" ; that the bed of the Welland be deepened and 
the soil taken out be applied to strengthening the banks ; and that 
all projections from-Spalding Locks downwards be removed ; but that 
the locks be kept, as they would be necessary for stemming the tides 
until the whole of the works, as provided for by the Act, were 
carried out. 

The works authorised by this Act were only partially carried 
out. The river was improved from the Reservoir to Fossdyke 
Bridge, a distance of about 2f miles, but the remainder of the Cut 
and the erection of the two sluices was not proceeded with. The 
powers relating to this part of the scheme were repealed by an Act 
passed in 1824. 

Bevan's Report. In a report made by Mr. B. Bevan in 1S12 on the improve- 

ment of the navigation and drainage of the River "Welland, it is 
stated that in Cowbit Wash the tides had deposited a shoal which 
penned up the water in the Welland, which shoal would be likely 
gradually to increase, if the tides continued to flow through 
Spalding Locks as at that time ; that from Spalding Locks to the 
Vernatt's Sluice the Channel had been much improved by the flux 
and reflux of the tides into Cowbit Wash ; that the channel had 
been lowered by the scour 3ft ; and that, whereas at similar periods 
of the tides, when in the former condition of the river there would 
have been barely i8in. of water, there were then about 6ft. ; that 
owing to the widening of the channel towards the lower end, a 
depth equal to that at the upper end could not be maintained. 
The average sectional area of the river at the upper end was given 
as 630 and of the lower end 1,215 square feet. Below Fossdyke 
the bottom of the channel in the open Wash was from 3ft. to 4ft. 
higher than that between the new banks ; this channel was variable 
both as to position and depth, and had a circuitous course to its 
junction with the Witham of "j\ miles, while the direct distance 
was noi more than 5J miles, and in this distance the difference of level 
was 9ft. 

He advised for the improvement of the navigation, that a lock 
should be made near the outlet of Cowbit Wash ; that the channel 



1812. 



301 

between Spalding Locks and the Vernatt's Sluice should be lowered 
2ft. ; that a new channel should be excavated below Fossdyke, 
through the marshes, communicating with deep water by a sea 
sluice at Wyberton, opposite Hobhole Sluice. 

In 1815 Mr. Thomas Pear, made a report to the effect that the Re pi£f al J8 I5 . 
drainage was in a very unsatisfactory condition, the water often 
standing 6ft. on the sill of the old Vernatt's Sluice, which was the 
outlet for the drainage of Deeping Fen, including an area of 30,000 
acres, which was drained by 50 wind engines. This outlet was 
over-ridden by the waters of the Welland and the Glen. The cause 
of this was the defective state of the Outfall below Fossdyke bridge; 
neap tides, which rose 15ft. at the junction of the rivers, never 
reaching Spalding, a distance of 15 miles. He proposed as a remedy 
a new cut two miles in length, commencing at a point near the 
Holbeach and Whaplode Sluice, and about two miles below Foss- 
dyke Inn, to be made through the embanked lands and open salt 
marshes, and ending with an outfall near Holbeach Middle Sluice ; 
the channel to be 50ft. wide, and 5ft. above the low-water mark in 
the south channel, with a rise of ift. per mile. He also proposed 
the erection of a lock or new sluice, a little above the Reservoir, for 
the purpose of keeping up a navigable head of water in dry seasons, 
and to be so contrived as to admit the free influx of the tides, and 
at the same time to be clear for the outflowing of land water ; and 
a similar pen sluice for the river Glen ; the estimated cost of the 
improvements being put at ^"50,000. Subsequently, in a report on the 
drainage of Deeping Fen, this scheme for making a new cut from 
Fossdyke to the Witham was approved by Mr. Rennie. 

In a pamphlet, dated October 31st, 1814, Mr. William Chap- chapman. 1814. 
man made a strong protest against the proposal for carrying the 
Welland to Hobhole and erecting a sluice there. He argued that 
as the erection of the Grand Sluice at Boston had proved injurious 
to the river Witham, and as the doors were sometimes in dry 
seasons blocked up by deposit to a height of eight or ten feet, so the 
same result would, in all probability, take place at the proposed 
sluice at the end of the new cut for the Welland, and also that, by 
the withdrawal of the water from Fossdyke Reach, it would silt up, 
and so deprive the seaward channels of the benefit of the scour from 
a tidal reservoir of nearly 20 square miles. 

This project was ultimately abandoned. 

In 1824 an amended Act for the Welland was obtained and the THEWELL »„ D 
Welland Commission reconstituted. The Trust by this Act was trust. 
made to consist of thirteen Trustees, one of whom was to be elected 5 e °ii^. *" 9 
by the Corporation of Stamford, and one by the Owners of the old 
enclosed lands in Spalding and Pinchbeck. The Trustees were to 
be elected every three years, and their special duty was ' the main- 
tenance, support and improvement of the New Cut from the Reser- 



302 

voir to Fossdyke, and the drainage and navigation thereby.' They 
were relieved from the liability entailed on them by the former Adl 
of extending the new channel lower down than Fossdyke Bridge, 
and were authorised to carry out works for the removal of .shoals in 
the Welland from and below the staunch fixed across the river 
above Spalding, and through the town, and for training the waters 
through Fossdyke Marsh. They were also authorised, for naviga- 
tion purposes, to place draw doors across the mouth of the River 
Glen at the request of the Deeping Fen Adventurers and the Dyke- 
reeves of Gosberton, Surfleet and Pinchbeck. To assist in paying 
for these improvements, the tax of one shilling for Deeping Fen 
and such parts of the late commons as had been sold by the Inclosure 
Commissisoners, and sixpence per acre on the lands between the 
Glen and the Westlode, was continued ; the allotments of the 
commons, the lands north of the Glen, and those draining by Rise- 
gate Eau and the Five Towns Sluice, being exonerated from 
further payment. The Trustees were further empowered to demand 
tonnage on all vessels using the new ch ann el of the Welland, the 
tolls being fixed at a maximum of 2d. per ton on coal, 4d. per last 
on oats, 4d. for the half last of wheat, and 4d. per ton on general 
goods, and other rates in proportion. This Act was again amended 
by another obtained in 1837. 

Xo steps having been taken to cany out the recommendations 
for the improvement of the Outfall, it gradually became worse and 
j. Walker's worse, till in the year 1S35 it was reported that at low water, in dry 
Report - l835 ' seasons, there were only a few inches of water at Fossdyke. Vessels 
drawing 3ft. could not float, except at the top of spring tides, and 
vessels drawing 6ft. could not depend on floating at springs, and no 
vessels, except barges, could reach Spalding at all. In fact, the state 
of the river had become so bad, that the Commissioners were com- 
pelled to take active measures, or see the whole drainage of the 
district ruined. Mr. Jas. Walker. C.E., was therefore consulted, 
and in a report, bearing date November 7th, 1835, he set out the 
works he considered desirable for the improvement of the Outfall. 
He found that, owing to the defective condition of the Channel, 
there was a fall in the surface of low water of 5ft. 2in., in the 2} miles 
of open channel between the point of confluence of the Witham and 
Welland ; of 16ft. gin. between Clayhole and Fossdyke ; and of 21ft. 
4m. between Clayhole and Spalding, a distance of 14^ miles, or at 
the rate of i8in. per mile. 

A spring tide, which then flowed 5 hours at Clayhole, flowed 
only 3^ hours at the junction of the two rivers, li hours at Fossdyke 
Bridge, and 1 J at the Reservoir. In dry seasons, there were only 
a few inches of water in the channel. Vessels were frequently 
detainedfor several weeks, waiting for a high spring tide to float them. 
Vessels drawing more than 3ft. could not venture up to Spalding. 



CONDITION OF 

THE RiVER. IB35. 



3°3 

The works recommended by Mr. Walker, for improving the con- 
dition of the river, were the training the channel, in the first instance, 
as far as Holbeach Middle Sluice, a distance of nearly 3 miles, and 
ultimately to Clayhole. The area of the uninclosed space, or 
estuary, below Fossdyke Bridge, he found to be 5,000 acres, 4,000 of 
which were available for reclamation. The estimated cost of the 
fascine training for the 2 miles 74 chains was ^13,000, and the 
advantage to be gained, a very considerable lowering of the bed of 
the river, and the more rapid discharge of the water. Mr. Walker 
also proposed the inclosing of the marsh lands between Fossdyke 
Bridge and Holbeach Outfall on the south side of the river, and 
from Fossdyke Bridge to Western Point, nearly opposite Hobhole, 
on the other. The length of bank required on the south side was 
2f miles, and the estimated cost ^"13,000 ; and on the north side, 5 
miles, and the cost ^S.ooo. The quantity of land to be inclosed 
was 700 acres and 1,800 acres respectively. The total estimate for 
the whole of the proposed works was /~70,ooo. 

He pointed out that the width of the channel, between Spalding 
and the Reservoir, was from 60 to 70ft., and from the Reservoir to 
Fossdyke Bridge, 120ft. The former, he considered, too narrow 
for the quantity of water, and the latter, too large for a regular 
channel. He advised that attention should first be paid to the 
works below Fossdyke. When the works he advised were com- 
pleted, they would enable a vessel, drawing 10ft., to get to Fossdyke 
Bridge, and one drawing 6ft., to Spalding. 

Mr. Walker's report having been approved, an Act was obtained, 
giving the necessary power for carrying out the work, and for raising 
the money required. This Act after reciting that the river had 
become deteriorated, and the dues sanctioned by former Acts were 
not sufficient, gave power to raise them according to a schedule. 
The principal dues authorised were 3d. per ton on all vessels, 3d. 
per quarter on wheat, on other corn lid., and on coal 6d. per ton. 
Power was given to erect quays and wharves, to embank the 
channel through Fossdyke Wash for the purpose of confining the 
water within a determinate channel to Clayhole, to take sods for the 
training work from any part of the unenclosed wash, except lands 
above high water mark, and to retain permanently a space 100 
yards wide from the outer base of the bank, for the purpose of 
affording a supply of material for the future repair of the banks, 
without paying any compensation for the same ; the embanking of 
the channel was to be done ' as occasion may require and progress- 
ively.' Provision was made for the regulation of vessels and power 
given to make bye-laws. 

It was also provided that no person should conduct or pilot any 
vessel into or out of the river and wash, or seaward thereof, without 
being licensed by the Hull Trinity House, under a penalty of ^5. 



PROPOSED 
flPROVEMCNTS 



Vict. c. 113. 

1837. 



TONNAGE DUES. 



FASCINE 

ING WALLS. 



304, 

Power was given to hire and maintain a pilot sloop, for the use of the 
pilots of the port, out of the pilot dues. Five of the Trustees were 
appointed a Sub-Commission of Pilotage by the Hull Trinity House, 
to manage the Pilots. 

The money required for the work was borrowed from the 
Exchequer Loan Commissioners. 

In 1837 the tonnage dues had only amounted to ^"452. In the 
following year they had increased to ^2,298, partly due to the in- 
creased rate allowed under the new Act and also to an increase in 
the shipping. 
tra,n- -p ne pi an adopted by Mr. Walker for training the river was 

first proposed to him by Mr. Beasley, and was found to be so simple 
and inexpensive, as compared with other methods, and at the same 
time so effective, that it has since been used in all similar works in 
the estuary. It consists of training walls, or banks made of thorn 
faggots about 6ft. long and 3ft. in girth, which are laid in the water, 
in courses, varying in width in proportion to the depth, and as each 
course, which is weighted with clay or sods, sinks, others are laid on 
till the bank is raised to about half-tide level. The branches of the 
thorns interlace one with another, and the silt brought up by the 
tides rapidly deposits amongst and at the back of this fascine work, 
and thus a solid embankment is formed, of sufficient strength and 
tenacity to withstand the strongest tidal current.* 
w. Cnbitt- 1837 In a report made to the Commissioners of Newboro' Fen on 

the River Welland, by Mr. W. Cubitt, who had been called in to 
advise as to the effect of certain tunnels connected with the Welland, 
the Folly River and Newboro' Fen, respecting which litigation was 
going on, he gave a description of the condition of the channel 
through the Washes, between Deeping and Spalding, and advised a 
scheme for improving the navigation. This consisted of making a 
side Cut to the southward of Spalding for the purpose of taking the 
superfluous land and flood water off the Washes, at the upper end 
of which cut a weir was to be made, to prevent the accession of 
common tides, and a sluice for the purpose of effectually draining 
the Washes ; also the erection of a navigation lock for the passage 
of sea-borne vessels just below Spalding, and above the point where 
the new Cut would enter the main channel of the river ; so con- 
verting the river at Spalding into a floating dock, with from 8ft. to 
1 oft. of water at all times ; and to pen up to a level from 2^ft. to 
3ft. of water on the sill of Deeping Lock. No action was taken to 
carry out these recommendations. 

From a report of Mr. Walker's, to the Exchequer Loan Com- 
missioners, as to their advancing money for the work, it appears 

•For a full description of Fascine Training, see the Chapter On Training in 
Tidal Rivers, by W. H. Wheeler, Longmans &• Co., and thepaDer on Fascini Work 
at the Outfall of Fen Rivers, in the Min : Pro : Instit. C.E. Vol. 46, 1875. 



TRANSFER OF 

DUES- 



305 

that in October, 1838, the new channel had been successfully formed T "*^^°^. TMC 

with fascine wirk for one and a half miles below Fossdyke bridge, 

the cost of this portion being ^"7,026. The result had been most J- ^f lk I | r, 8 NoT- 

satisfactory, for vessels drawing eight feet of water could get along 

the new channel to Fossdyke with greater certainty than those of 

three feet could before, the water consequently being lowered nine 

feet. Mr. Walker concluded this report by saying that his original 

design extended to carrying the channel four miles below the bridge, 

but that this ou^ht not to be the limit of the work, and adds, "where 

nature is at hand to do so much, the direction should be extended 

quite to the Witham." 

The fascine work was extended about another mile after this, 
with still further advantage, for in 1845 it is reported that the effect 
of the training had been to lower the river about seven feet from 
Fossdyke Bridge downwards. 

Spalding is part of the Port of Boston, and up to the year 1842 ,„«. 

all vessels navigating the Welland had paid tonnage and lastage 
dues to the Trustees of that port ; but by an Act obtained in 1842, 
in consideration of the Weliand Trustees paying to the Boston 5 Vl °5^ 55 " 
Harbour Trustees the sum of ^"5,000, being part of a debt then due 
to the Exchequer Loan Commissioners on the security of the tolls 
and dues, and also paying one-third of the annual expense to be in- 
curred by the Boston Harbour Commissioners in maintaining the 
buoys, beacons, and sea marks of the port, the Trust was to give 
up all claim to dues on vessels navigating the Welland, and the 
Welland Trustees were authorised to collect a tonnage rate of six- 
pence, and a lastage rate of one penny on wheat, and one halfpenny 
on other corn. Under the same Act, and also another passed in the 
same year, the Boston Harbour Trust and the Welland Trust 
were empowered severally to execute any works for the improve- 
ment of the navigation of their rivers up to the point of confluence ; 
and below that, jointly to execute any works for the improvement of 
the Outfall of the said waters into Clayhole. 

The recommendation of Mr. Walker for the continuance of the 
training of the river was not carried out, and the work which had 
been completed, owing to a scarcity of money, was neglected, in con- 
sequence of which the tides gradually worked behind the fascine 
work, and the whole training wall was in danger of being swept 
away. After a considerable loss had been incurred, the Trustees, 
and some of the Proprietors interested, met at Spalding on the 27th 
of August, 1866, and, convinced of the urgency of the case by the 
report of their Superintendent, Mr. J. Kingston, determined to 
borrow money, on their own personal liability, to put the fascine 
work in sufficient repair to prevent further damage, until they could 
apply to Parliament for increased powers of taxation. And at a 
further meeting held in September, when Sir John Trollope presided, 



306 



WELLAND OUT- 
FALL ACT* 

30 and 31 Vict, 
c 195. 1867. 



WELLAND OUT- 
FALL TRUST. 
18GT- 



it was resolved that application be made to Parliament for an Act 
to authorise the taxation of lands not then charged to the Welland 
taxes, extending to 63,213 acres ; to obtain power to borrow money ; 
to raise additional taxes and to effect a reconstitution of the Trust. 
The River Welland Outfall Act, 1867, was obtained in the follow- 
ing year. 

This Act gave power to the Trustees to bring into taxation again 
the lands, which, from 1794 until the Act of 1824, had been taxed '. 
and also other lands which had hitherto used the river as the Outfall 
for their waters, without contributing to the expense of its mainten- 
ance. The Preamble states that out of 85,000 acres of land draining 
by the Welland, only 24,000 paid taxes, producing ^"535 per annum ; 
and that the dues from vessels, which in 1846 had exceeded /*6,ooo, 
had gradually diminished to ^998 in 1865. At this time there were 
charges on the Trust, to the amount of ^6,000 due on mortgage, and 
the sum of ^1,000 in addition had been borrowed of the Treasurer, 
on the personal security of the Commissioners, to carry out works 
of emergency. The revenues at the disposal of the Commissioners 
had become most seriously diminished, owing to the decline of the 
navigation, arising from the alteration in the method of transit for 
all articles of produce and consumption, and chiefly of corn and coal, 
by the formation of the Great Northern Railway. The only com- 
munication the interior of the Fens had with other parts of the 
country, previous to railways, was by means of boats, navigating the 
arterial drains and the great fen rivers ; but the greater certainty 
and convenience of the railway system has to a great extent super, 
seded the canals, and Spalding, with all towns similarly situated, 
has suffered accordingly. 

By this Act the Trust was again reconstituted, the new Board 
being termed ' The Welland Outfall Trustees,' and consisting of 
28 members ; 4 elected by the Owners of the Adventurers' lands, and 
3 by Owners of fen lands in Deeping St. Nicholas ; 2 by Owners of 
lands late the Commons ; 2 by Owners of lands in Pinchbeck ; 2 by 
those in Holbeach; 1 by the Trustees of the Crowland and 
Cowbit Washes ; 2 by a vestry of the Parishioners of Spalding ; 1 
by Owners of land in each of the parishes of Spalding, Surfleet, 
Gosberton, Quadring, Algarkirk, Fossdyke, Sutterton, Wigtoft, 
Kirton, Weston, Moulton, and Whaplode. In each case, except 
those elected by the vestry of Spalding, it is a necessary qualifi- 
cation that the lands of the members elected shall be subject to 
taxation under the powers of the Welland Outfall Acts, and that 
the Members be Proprietors of not less than 50 acres, or Heirs- 
apparent to such Proprietors, or Occupiers of not less than 100 
acres. In the case of those elected by the Spalding Vestry, they 
must be rated to the poor rates of the parish to the amount of £40. 
Every Owner of taxable land has one vote in the election of 



3°7 

Trustees, and an additional vote for every 20 acres, or part 
thereof, beyond the first 20 acres. Every tenant has the same 
right of voting as the Owner, if the latter be absent from the meet- 
ing. Electors may appoint in writing another person to act as their 
Proxy. Trustees remain in office for three years, or if no successor 
be appointed, until they die or resign, or become disqualified. An 
annual meeting is to be held at Spalding, in the month of April. 
It is directed by the Act that a drainage map, colored to show the 
different rating areas, be deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for 
Holland, at the office of the Trust, and in the chest of each 
parish affected. 

Lands in the first class, which includes Deeping Fen and the taxes. 
Commons not subject at the passing of the Act to taxation by the 
Welland Trustees, are subject (except the 7th District) to a tax of 
eightpence per acre ; land in the second class, including Deeping 
Fen and the Commons then subject to taxation by the Welland 
Trustees, to sixpence per acre ; land in the third class, including 
all other lands draining by the river Welland, shown by the blue 
colour on the deposited plan, to fourpence per acre. These taxes 
are in addition to those leviable under the previous Outfall Acts, and 
become payable on the 24th of June in each year. The tax is pay- 
able by the Occupiers, but recoverable from the Owners, and may be 
recovered by distress. 

The Trustees were authorised to borrow ^"4,000, in addition to borrowing 
the amount then due on mortgage, to be applied in repaying the 
£1 ,000 borrowed of the Treasurer ; and in repairing and renewing 
the existing channel of the Welland and the piers and embankments 
connected therewith, between the Reservoir and the termination 
below Fossdyke Bridge, and in repairing and renewing the Outfall 
Sluices which the Trustees are liable to repair under the Act 5 Geo. 
IV, c. 96. 

The powers given by the 10th section of the Act of 1837, to 
inclose lands outside the embankments below Fossdyke Bridge, are 
repealed. 

The area of land, thus brought into taxation, was as follows : — 

Acres. 

Lands paying Welland taxes at the time of 

the Act 23,900 

Lands on the Commons, Pinchbeck 4th dis- 
trict, Bourne Fen, Thurlby Fen, Cowbit 
Wash, Crowland, Peakirk, Borough Fen, 
Northborough, Monk's House Farm, 

South Holland District 16393 

Lands in Deeping Fen, not now charged ... 1207 

Holbeach Parish 6178 

Whaplode 4868 

Moulton Marsh 2232 

Weston... 800 



POWERS. 



308 

Acres 

Surfleet... ... ... ... ... ... 2475 

Gosberton ... ... ... ... ... 3743 

Quadring ... ... ... ... ... 3088 

Fossdyke ... ... ... . ... 1547 

Algarkirk ... ... .. ... ... 2646 

Sutterton ... ... ... ... ... 2792 

Wigtoft 2391 

Swineshead ... ... ... ... ... 2383 

Lord's Drain District ... ... ... ... 4103 



80746 



reconstruc- By the Act of 1824, the Welland Trustees were authorised, for 

Tlu^c^ «" navigation purposes, to place draw doors across the mouth of the 
River Glen, at the request of the Deeping Fen Adventurers and the 
Dykereeves of Gosberton, Surfleet and Pinchbeck. A sluice had 
been erected at the end of the Glen, about 100 years before this. 
It was removed in 1879, and had the following inscrip- 
tion : " This Sluice was erected and built by order of the 
Honourable Adventurers of Deeping Fen, according to the model 
and direction of Messrs. Smith and Grundy. — W. Sands, Bricklayer, 
Samuel Rowel, Carpenter, 1739." This sluice had three openings, 
together making 24ft. waterway. 

The present sluice bears the following inscription : " This 
sluice was erected by the Trusteesof the Deeping Fen Drainage Act, 
1856, assisted by contributions from other interested districts. The 
first stone was laid by Lord Kesteven, on the 17th February, 1879. 
The sluice was opened November, 1879." Then follow the names 
of the Trustees and other Officials. The total cost of this sluice was 
^"15,000, of which ^"10,000 was provided by the Deeping Fen 
Trust, ^"2,000 by the Black Sluice Drainage Commissioners, and 
^"3,000 by other contributors. The new sluice has two openings of 
15ft. each, and the sill is 5ft. lower than the old one, being 3m. 
below Ordnance datum. 
j. nmosTON-s In 1879 Mr. J. Kingston was directed by the Welland Outfall 

REPORT ON THE , - 

withah outfall. Trustees to report as to the proposed new channel for the \\ itham 
and its effect on the Welland. The conclusion he arrived at after a 
full consideration of the matter is given in his Report dated Sep. 12, 
1879, as follows : " That the projected scheme of cutting a new 
channel for the River Witham through the Clays from Hobhole to 
Clayhole will have but little better effect on the depression of low 
water flood line in the Witham than the less costly scheme of train- 
ing the channel from Hobhole to the junction of the Welland, which 
latter scheme would not interfere with the Welland prejudicially ; 
that any divergence of the Outfall of the River Witham to a greater 
distance from the Outfall of the River Welland will have a prejudicial 
effect upon the Outfalls of both rivers ; that the proposed New Cut 



WITHAM OUTFALL 
ACT. 



ARRISON'! 

report on thc 



309 

for the Witham would cost .£"70,000 more than the training scheme." 

On the strength of this Report the Welland Commissioners opposed 

the Witham Outfall Bill in Parliament, but only succeeded in 

obtaining a clause that if, within 20 years after the completion of the 44 and 45 vict., 

New Cut, they found it necessary, for the Outfall of the Welland, to ° - I55 ' ' 

make a New Cut or improved channel from the then confluence of 

the two rivers, near the place where Elbow Buoy was laid to the 

mouth of the New Cut near the Ballast Beacon, the Outfall Board 

shoul bear half the cost of the work. 

In 1882 Mr. John Kingston, Superintendent of the Welland, kingstons hd 
and Mr. Alfred Harrison the Superintendent of Deeping Fen, were 
jointly instructed by the Deeping Fen Drainage Trustees to report 
" upon the present state of the River Glen, and as to the best means 
of avoiding breaches of banks in future." The report is dated March 
13, 1S83, and states that the river below Kate's Bridge has, from 
time immemorial, been a source of danger and annoyance to the fen 
lands through which it passes. The water in floods, they found, had 
an inclination, immediately below Kate's Bridge, of four feet in the 
mile, diminishing to 7f inches at Tongue End, and along the 7 miles 
above the Outfall of 2 if inches per mile. The discharge at the 
sluice they calculated at 60,000 cubic feet per minute, and at Kate's 
Bridge 117,500 cubic feet, so that the continuance of the floods over 
any prolonged period rapidly filled up any reservoir space and caused 
the water to rise above the top of the banks. With regard to the pro- 
posal for putting an overflow weir so as to allow the water to flow 
from the Glen into the Counter Drain Wash, calculations showed that 
if this were done the Wash would be flooded to a depth of 3ft. 6£in., 
and over-ride the head-water at the pumping station at Podehole. 
To raise the banks in the lower part on the Deeping Fen side would 
cost £1 7,500. The effect of the new sluice, which was erected in 
1879, was to remove the low water level from the Outfall to Surfleet 
Bridge. They advised that the area of the river should be increased 
by lowering the bottom 6ft. for the first seven miles above the Out- 
fall. From this point, the bottom to rise i8in. per mile, so as to 
lower the bed 2ft. iin. at Tongue End. This would involve the 
reconstruction of six bridges. The estimated cost of this work was 
put at ^40,000. 

From an appendix attached to the report it appears that be- 
tween 1 82 1 and 1822, eight breaches had occurred in the south 
bank, and six in the north bank, some of which had caused very 
serious inundations and loss of property. 

The following are the taxes levied under the several Welland WELLANO T . XES 
Acts:— 

Welland Act, 1794. 1S24. 1867. total. 

s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d. 

Deeping Fen ... 16 10 08 32 



BREACHES IN 
THE GLEN BANK* 



TUBE. 



GLEN TAXES AND 

EXPENDITURE- 



THE WASHES. 



Welland Act. 
Crowland and Cow- 


. 1794- 


1824. 


bit Washes 


6 




Spalding and Pinch- 
beck Old Inclos- 






ures 


6 


6 


Pinchbeck, North 






of the Glen, Sur- 






fleet, Gosberton, 






Quadring, Algar- 
kirk, and lands 




Exonerated 
from 


draining by Rise- 




further 


gate Eau and Five 
Towns Drain, and 




payment. 


Kirton Outfall ... 


2 





3*0 

1867. Total. 



From the Return of Taxation for 1892-3, the amount raised by 
taxation was £2,137, from tonnage and port dues, £398, from other 
sources, £79 ; total, £2,614. In the previous year the dues amounted 
t° -£356. Maintenance of works cost £1, 348 ; (and in the previous 
year £1,508;) salaries and management, £416, payment to' 
Boston Harbour Trust, £190, interest on loan, £385; total, .£2,339. 
The amount of loan outstanding was £9,000, and no provision was 
made for paying this off. 

The banks of the Glen, not repaired by the Deeping Fen and 
Black Sluice Trusts, are maintained by Trustees appointed under 
the AcT; of 1 801. These Trustees make a call for the amount re- 
quired annually, on the persons liable thereto. The amount raised 
according to the Taxation Returns for 1892-93 from taxes, was 
£343 ; rents and other sources, £266 ; making £609. Maintenance 
of the banks cost £591 ; salaries and management, £142 ; a total of 
£733. In the previous year maintenance cost £392. There was 
then no outstanding loan. 

Crowland and Cowbit Washes. — The right bank of the 
Welland, between Crowland and Spalding, is placed at a distance 
from the channel of the river varying from a quarter to half-a-mile, 
leaving an area of about 2,500 acres, which is covered with water 
whenever the Welland is in flood. The depth of water on this land 
in high floods is as much as 5ft. Originally, no doubt, the land by 
the side of the Welland was little better than a morass, and the 
banks were placed on the nearest firm ground. The land has since 
warped up very considerably, being now about 2ft. higher than the 
fen. It affords very good pasturage, and yields heavy crops of hay. 
Winter floods are of benefit to the land, but summer floods, which 
occasionly occur, are very disastrous. 

These ' Washes ' are considered as being, to a certain extent, 
of value to the drainage, by affording a reservoir, or * boezem ' as 
it is termed in Holland, in which the excess of flood water, which 
the channel below is not capable of carrying off, can spread itself. 



3 11 



Supposing the whole Wash be taken at 2,500 acres, and that this 
were covered 5ft. deep, it would be equal to half an inch of rainfall 
over an area of 300,000 acres, which is about the watershed of the 
Glen above the Washes. 

Cowbit Wash, which forms part of this area, when covered 
with ice, affords the best skating ground in the country, and has 
long been celebrated for the matches which have taken place there. 

In 1846, a meeting of the Proprietors of lands in the Washes 
was held at Crowland, when it was stated that these lands would be 
rendered much more productive and valuable if protected from the 
frequent and long inundations to which they were subject, by an 
adequate system of drainage, a result which was likely to be success- 
ful, owing to the contemplated improvements in the Welland. Mr. 
J. W. Hastings was accordingly directed to prepare a scheme and 
estimate for carrying out the proposed drainage, and this was pre- 
sented at a subsequent meeting, in a report ' on the means of 
draining Crowland and Cowbit Washes, and adjacent lands.' Mr. 
Hastings proposed making a new sluice at Lock's Mill, having a 
waterway of 14ft., with the sill 2ft. 6in. lower than the then existing 
sill, and enlarging the old and making new drains where required. 
The estimated cost of the work was ,£"2,948. 

The report was approved, and an Act of Parliament obtained, 
' for better draining of lands called Crowland Washes, and Fodder 
Lots, Cowbit YV ash, and Deeping Fen Wash, in the several parishes 
of Crowland, Spalding and Pinchbeck, and the hamlets of Cowbit 
and Peakhill, and the extra-parochial places or lands called Deeping 
Fen, or Deeping Fen Welland Washes, all in the County of 
Lincoln.' This Act gave power to carry out the works recom- 
mended, and to raise money for the purpose. The works only 
provided for the better draining of the Washes, and the land is still 
subject to flooding in wet seasons, and is generally covered with 
water during a great part of the winter. 

The rates now paid for the maintenance of the works amount 
to about five shillings an acre. From the Government Return for 
1892-3, the amount raised by taxation on the Washes was ^"525 ; 
and from other sources, ^26 ; making the total receipts, ^551 ; 
maintenance of works cost ^381, salaries and management, ^"81, 
interest on loan, ^242 ; total, ^"704. The previous years expenses 
were ^586. The amount of loan outstanding was ,£"4,800. 



SKATING. 



DRAINAGE OFTHE 

WASHES. 1B46. 



J. W. Hastings 
Report. 1846. 



10 and 11 Vict., 
c. 267. 1848 



RATES AND 
EXPENDITURE- 

Taxation 
Returns, 1892-3. 



312 



CHAPTER X. 

Deeping Fen, Bourne South Fen and 
Thurlby Fen. 



BOUNDARY. 



Fig. 12. 



C ROWLAND 



SAINT GUTHLAC 



Sanderson's 
Crowland, 



697. 



THE district dealt with in this chapter is a tract of fen and low 
land, lying between the Welland and the Glen, and bounded 
on the north and west by the River Glen, on the south and east 
by the River Welland, and on the south and west by the high lands 
in Deeping, Langtoft and Baston ; it also includes a small tract of 
fen land, lying between the Car Dyke and Bourne Eau, on the north 
side of the Glen. 

At one time the central part of this district, or that known as 
Deeping Fen, was nothing more than a large mere, or lake, at the 
bottom of which grew and accumulated the aquatic plants which 
afterwards formed the peat of which the surface of the land is 
"composed. Round this mere, on the north and south sides, was a 
tract of low land, which was common to the several parishes adjoining. 

Although the boundaries given above do not include Crowland 
or its Abbey, their history is so mixed up with that of Deeping 
Fen that the chapter would not be complete without a short account 
of the monastery, especially as the first works of reclamation were 
undertaken by the Abbots of Crowland. 

St. Guthlac, the founder of Crowland, was a descendant of the 
Iclings, a noble family of Mercia. He was born in 673. The early 
part of his life was spent as a military chief, but at the age of 24 he 
surrended his home and paternal wealth and entered a monastery. 
After a course of study at Repton, he resolved to become an anchor- 
ite. Seeking for a desolate and unknown place, he met with a Fenman 
called Tatwine, who conducted him in a boat to Crowland, where he 
landed on St. Bartholomew's Day in 697. With only two attendants, 
he took up his permanent residence and built for himself a house 
and chapel on a spot about a quarter of a mile north-east of the 
present abbey, which is now known as Anchor Church Hill. St. 
Guthlac and the island of Crowland were consecrated by Bishop 
Hadda, five days before the feast of St. Bartholomew, at harvest time ; 
and in commemoration of this event Crowland fair is held annually, 



J%. it. 

ClixvpA 10. 









■oi' 






-A 













+Wejsfcon. 



i 



THIRD 
"^ DISTRlbT 



{0 



fLocfasfflU 



%&?*%■ 






fi' 17 ' <* \ vCl 






*4 



irff Deeping ^ 



KoutJufivutyt/ 



1 



V 

+Baj9ton 



wO* Xieepmg u/ \ " W ^ £, 



~ ; Common/ V^'%" 



ngtoFW 



MARKET 








jH°* 



oei.Kotise' 



-<**& 



\drinvtancO- - Aj/<?| 







"i 5 V 



w%\ 



'eafcirk 



* *CMOWLAND 



DEEPING FEN. 



lyu'faik 



BOUNDARY. 

Fig. 12. 

b 
ii 
ft 



I 
t 
a 
c 
t 

CROWLAND 

C 
] 

c 

I 

SAINT GUTHLAC. 

] 



1 
( 

Sanderson's . 
Crowland, * 



697. 



ABBEY. 



3 J 3 

by Royal Charter, six days before and six days after the feast of St 
Bartholomew. 

After St. Guthlac's death, Ethelbald, King of Mercia, whose "•• 

Confessor he had been, in 716 erected a monastery to his memory 
and endowed it with the island of Crowland, together with the 
adjacent fens lying on both sides of the River Welland. 

The foundations of the present abbey were laid in the beginning orowl.no 
of the twelfth century, and the importance which this monastery 
had obtained may be gathered from the facT: that two Abbots, two 
Earls, 100 Knights and upwards of5,ooo people were present at the 
laying of the first stone. 

Crowland is also celebrated for its triangular bridge. Formerly tr,«nouu>r 
the Welland divided into two streams, one branch leading to the 
Nene and the other continuing to Spalding. A stream of water was F 'g- <*■ 
diverted from the river through the abbey grounds past the slaughter 
house and offices. Three roads crossed over these streams, 
one from Peterborough, one from Peakirk and Stamford, and 
one from Spalding and the Abbey. These three roads, each 
by a separate arch, met on the centre of the bridge. The 
channel of the Nene branch of the Welland has long been filled 
in and the stream which passed to the Abbey ground is enclosed by 
a culvert. The bridge is 8ft. wide and therefore only adapted for 
horse or foot passengers. Mention of a ' triangular bridge ' is made 
in the Charter of Eadred, in 943, but the present structure was 
probably built in the fourteenth century. 

The fen land adjoining the Abbey was called Goggushland and ooobushland. 
was regarded as a sanctuary of the church. This fen the monks, 
having license from the King, inclosed for their own use, ' making 
the ditches about it bigger than ordinary for the avoiding of discord. 

The monks endeavoured to reclaim the fen by banks and drains reclamation of 
but " though they had ample possessions in the fens, yet they yielded crowlano. 
not much profit, in regard that so great a quantity of them lay for 
the most part under water." Ingulphus relates that Abbot Egelric 
so improved a portion of the marshes as to be able to plough and 
sow them with corn. In dry years he tilled the fens in four places, inguiph-s 
and for three or four years had the increase of an hundred fold of 
what seed soever he sowed, the monastery being so enriched by 
these plentiful crops that the whole country thereabout was supplied 
therewith. In William the Conqueror's time, the occupants of the 
adjacent fens consisted of the Tenants and their families, to whom 
the Abbot had let a great portion of the marshes and meadows, 
" no man delighting to inhabit here any longer than he was neces- 
sitated so to do ; insomuch as those who in time of war betook 
themselves hither for security (as great numbers of rich and poor 
from the neighbouring countries did) afterwards returned back to 
their particular homes, for without boats there was not then any 



3H 



Dugdale. 



Dugdale. 



Dugdale. 



access thereto, there being no path except up to the gate of the 
monastery." Abbot Egelric also constructed a road from Crowland 
to Spalding, the foundation of which was made of wood covered 
with gravel, ' a most costly work, but of extraordinary necessity.' 

In William the Conqueror's reign, Richard de Rulos who was 
then Lord and Owner of part of Deeping Fen, " and was much 
addicted to good husbandry, such as tillage and breeding of cattle, 
took in a great part of the common fen adjacent and converted it into 
several, for meadows and pastures. He also made an Inclosure 
from the Chapel of St. Guthlac of all his lands up to the Car- 
dyke, excluding the River Welland with a mighty bank ; because 
almost every year his meadows lying near that stream were 
overflowed. Upon this bank he erected tenemsnts and cottages 
and in a short time made it a large town, whereunto he assigned 
gardens and arable fields. By thus embanking the river he reduced 
the low grounds, which before that time were deap lakes and im- 
passable fens, (hence the name Dsep-ing or Deep Meadow), into 
most fruitful fields and pastures ; and the most humid and moorish 
parts to a garden of pleasure. Having by this good husbandry 
brought the soil to that fertile condition, he converted the chapel of 
St. Guthlac into a church, the place being now called Market 
Deeping. By the like means of banking and draining he also made 
a village dedicated to St. James in the very pan of Pudlington, and 
by much labour -and charge reduced it into fields, meadows and 
pasture, which is now called Deeping St. James." 

In the reign of Henry II the inhabitants of Holland, bordering 
on Crowland, having drained their own marshes and converted 
them into good and fertile arable land, whereof each town had its 
proper proportion, wanting pasturage for their cattle, seized the 
land of the Abbot of Crowland, carried away his hay, and pastured 
their cattle on his marshes. 

The following is the description given of Deeping Fen in the 
reign of Richard II. " The marsh called Deping Fen did extend 
itself from East Deping to the middle of the bridge of Crouland, and 
the middle of the river of Weland, and thence to the messuage of 
Wm. Atte Tounesend, of Spalding, and thence to a certain place 
called Dowe Hirne, thence to Goderham's Kote, thence to Estcote, 
and thence to Baston Barre, thence to Langtoft-outgonge, and thence 
to East Deping in length and breadth. And that the agistments 
of all cattle in the said marsh did then belong to the lord, and were 
worth annually £10 ; and moreover that there was a certain profit 
of turfs, yearly digged therein, worth £20 ; and likewise a profit of 
poundage, to be yearly twice taken of all cattle within the said 
marsh, viz., one time of horses and afterwards of cattle ; whereupon 
all cattle which have right of common there are delivered with pay- 
ment of Greshyre, but of other cattle the lord hath Greshyre, which 



3i5 

was worth £10 per annum. Also that there was within the said 
marsh a certain profit of fishing, newly taken by reason of the over- 
flowing of the water on the north part towards Spalding, which was 
yearly worth £7, and that the other profits of fishing and fowling 
throughout the whole fen were worth 1005., and lastly that the fish- 
ing to the midst of the river of Welland to Crouland and thence to 
Spalding, was yearly worth 50s." 

In the same reign a dispute occurred with the men residing in iw>. 

Kesteven, as to the boundaries of the fens, and a Commission was 
issued by the King. A perambulation having been made, ten 
crosses were erected to show the division. But within two years 
these were all thrown down and carried away by the Kesteven men, 
for which act sundry of them were hanged, some banished, and 
some fined in great sums, and command given for erecting new 
crosses of stone at the charge of these men of Kesteven. 

In several succeeding reigns Commissions were issued by the 
Crown to view the banks, ditches, and water courses, and also the 
floodgates and sluices, and to see that all necessary repairs were 
executed for maintaining the same in proper order. 

In the beginning of the 16th century this part of the country is 
thus described by Camden, in his History of England. 

" Allow me, however, to stop awhile to describe the extraordin- Camden, 
ary situation and nature of this spot, so different from all others in 
England, and this so famous monastery (Crowland) lying among the 
deepest fens and waters stagnating off muddy lands, so shut in and 
environed as to be inaccessible on all sides except the north and east, 
and that only by narrow causeys. Its situation, if we may compare 
small things with great, is not unlike that of Venice, consisting of 
three streets, divided by canals of water, planted with willows, and 
built on piles driven into the bottom of the fen, and joined by a 
triangular bridge of admirable workmanship, under which, the in- 
habitants report, is a pit of immense depth, dug to receive the 
confluence of waters. Beyond this bridge, where, as the poet says, 
' the soil cements to solid ground,' antiently stood the monastery 
so famous, in a much narrower space, all round which, except where 
the town stands, it is so moory that you may run a pole into the 
ground to the depth of 30ft., and nothing is to be seen on every side 
but beds of rushes, and near the church a grove of alders. It is, 
notwithstanding, full of inhabitants, who keep their cattle at a good 
distance from the town, and go to milk them in little boats, called 
skerries, which will hold but two persons ; but their chief profit arises 
from the catching of fish and wild fowl, which they do in such 
quantities that in the month of August they drive 3,000 ducks into 
one net, and call their pools their fields. No corn grows within five 
miles of them. Higher up that same river lies Spalding, surrounded 
on all sides with rivulets and canals, an handsomer town than one 



3i<? 



PETITION TO 

QUEEN ELIZA* 

BETH. 



Dngdale. 



LOVELL S 
SCHEME OF 

RECLAMATION- 
1603. 



would expect in this tract among stagnated waters. From hence to 
Deeping, a town ten miles off, the meaning of which is deep meadow, 
for the plain below it, extending many miles, is the deepest of all this 
fenny country, and the receptacle of many waters ; and, which is 
very extraordinary, much below the bed of the river Glen, which 
runs by from the west, confined within its own banks." 

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth a petition was presented to the 
Queen by the inhabitants of Deeping and the other towns having right 
of common in the fens, viz., Deeping, Spalding, Pinchbeck, Thurlby, 
Bourne and Crowland, setting out the lost condition of these fens, 
owing to the decay of the banks of the Welland and the Glen 
and the condition of the sewers and watercourses, and that by 
properly draining the same these fens might be greatly improved ; 
and praying the Queen to direct a Commission of Sewers to make 
enquiry and undertake such works as they should deem necessary 
for their recovery, and recommending a Mr. Thos. Lovell as the 
Undertaker, he being " a man skilful in like works, wherein he had 
been beyond the seas much used and employed, as one fit and much 
desired by the inhabitants, to undertake the draining of the said 
fens." 

In compliance with the prayers of the memorialists, a Com- 
mission of Sewers was issued, which sat at Bourne, and also at 
Market Deeping. The Court directed that a sum of ^"12,000 should 
be levied upon the inhabitants of certain towns in Holland and 
Kesteven, and on the Commoners in the fens. This tax not being 
paid, the Commissioners " well tendering the great profit that would 
arise to all persons concerned, and to the commonwealth in general 
if the said lands were drained, they therefore granted to Thomas 
Lovell a concession of the right to drain these fens, on condition 
that the same should be done solely at his own expense, within a 
period of five years. As recompense, he was to have a third part of 
the reclaimed land, but only on condition that he should maintain 
the works in a state of efficiency, and perfect the drainage of the 
fens so that they should be firm and pasturable, both in summer and 
winter. . Lovell at once commenced operations and expended the 
whole of his fortune, about ^12,000. A third part of the fens con- 
taining 10,036 acres was allotted to him, and also, by order of the 
Court of Sewers, 5,000 acres additional as a further recompense. 
This arrangement was subsequently confirmed by an Act obtained 
in the reign of James I. Owing however to the ' unreasonableness 
of the times and riotous letts and disturbances of lewd people 
casting down his banks,' and otherwise destroying his works, the 
fen again returned to its original condition. 

A Petition presented to the Court of Sewers stated that both 
Spalding and Pinchbeck were at that time in a miserable plight, 
three parts of the latter place being • depopulate and forsaken ' 



3i7 

through the state of the outfall of the Glen, which Lovell had under- 
taken to improve and make 6ft. deep and 40ft. wide, from the 
beginning of Surfieet. 

Subsequently Deeping Fen, South Holland and the other low 
lands in this district were included in a great scheme for draining all 
the fens lying in the counties of Huntingdon, Cambridge, the Isle 
of Ely, Norfolk and Lincoln. Sir William Ayloff, Anthony 
Thomas, with other Adventurers, made an offer to King James I, to 
drain all the fens lying in these counties, and in return were to be 
allowed to hold all the land belonging to the King, whether drowned 
by salt or fresh water, at a rent of fourpence an acre above all rents 
then paid, and to have two- thirds of the lands belonging to private 
owners which were liable to be drowned all the year, and half of 
those which lay drowned half the year. The Undertakers signified 
that as far as the Lincolnshire Fens were concerned they intended 
to commence their works by opening the Outfall of the Nene and 
the Welland, and to make these rivers navigable to Wisbech and 
Spalding. These proposals meeting with the King's approval, he 
recommended them to the Court of Sewers, in order that they might 
aid the Undertakers in expediting such contracts as they should 
make. At a Sessions of Sewers, held at Peterborough, the appro- 
bation of the Court was given, and at a subsequent Court, held at 
Huntingdon, it was decreed that in order to expedite the work, and 
towards opening the ancient outfalls of the Nene and Welland, and 
draining the lands, every acre should be taxed twenty shillings, to be 
paid to the Undertakers when the works of draining were done, or 
in default the Commissioners would award such quantities of land 
as they thought fit. The tax not being paid, at a Court of Sewers, 
held at Spalding, it was decreed that the Undertakers should have 
" half the common lands in Deeping Fen, Spalding Fen and Pinch- 
beck South Fen ; Goggushland ; also two-thirds of the marsh called 
Bellesmore in Spalding and Weston, two-thirds of the marsh called 
Turpitts in Weston, one- fourth of the marsh ground called East Fen 
in Moulton Marsh ; half of Holbech and Whaplode Marsh or Fen ; 
and two-thirds of Sutton Fen, on the south side of the South Ea." 

Difficulties arose in carrying out this arrangement and the 
decree fell through. Subsequently the Commissioners of Sewers 
decreed that they had no power to take away any man's lands with- 
out his assent, and that their power only extended to the rating of 
the land for the work done ; that if the Undertakers would agree to 
go on with the works, on condition that they should have a moiety 
of the clear profit which they should bring to each owner by their 
works, they would give all lawful aid in carrying out the bargain, but 
that if the Undertakers were not willing to consent to this, then the 
Commissioners would do the work themselves according to the 
antient course and legal power of their Commission. To these terms 



SCHEMES OF 

AYLOFF. THOMAS 

AND OTHERS. 

I6t£t. 



3i8 



VERMUIDEN- 
1631. 



VERNATTI. 

EARL OF BED' 
FORD'S SCHEME. 

Dugdale. 1638. 
Fig, 13. 



the Undertakers agreed, ' but whether it was the great distur- 
bance about that time, or what else, no further progress was 
made.' 

In 1629 a decree was made by the Court of Sewers, levying a 
tax of six shillings an acre on " all the marsh, fenny, waste and 
surrounded grounds in order to do this general draining, notwith- 
standing which decree, no part of the said tax was paid, nor any 
prosecution of the work." At another Sessions of Sewers held at 
Lynn an offer made by Sir C. Vermuiden was accepted to carry out 
the work, but " the country being not satisfied to deal with Sir 
Cornelius, in regard that he was an alien, they intimated their 
dislike to the Commissioners." Finally the works for reclaiming 
Deeping Fen appear to have been carried out separately from 
those in the Bedford Level, and " divers gentlemen became Adven- 
turers for the exsiccation thereof." Amongst these was Sir Phili- 
bert Vernatti, a Dutchman, from whom the Vematt's Drain and 
Sluice received its name. In 1632 a decree of the Court of Sewers 
was confirmed, for conferring on the Earl of Bedford, Sir William 
Russell, Sir Robert Bevill and others, the concession for draining 
Deeping Fen, South Fen and Crowland. The works carried out by 
them in Deeping Fen included the widening and deepening of the 
Welland from Waldram Hall (near St. James Deeping) to Spalding 
and thence to the Outfall ; the cutting of the Slaker Drain (the 
Counter Drain) about 20ft. in breadth, to ease the River Glen. This 
drain continued from Dovehirne, along the course of the Star Fen 
Graft and joined the Vernatt's. Hill's Drain branched off from North 
Drove Drain, and passed through Spalding Common to the Welland 
below Lock's Mill, where was ' a great sluice.' The Vernatt's 
Drain was cut from Pode Hole to the Welland, which it joined 
about i^miles below Spalding, or 3 miles above its present Outfall ; 
the South Drove Drain was carried from Cranmore Common to the 
Welland near Cowbit. The Adventurers also improved Exeter 
Drain (the Wheat Mere Drain) from Cowbit tunnel to the sea, below 
Spalding. A large sluice was erected on the Welland near Lock's 
Mill. Numerous partition dykes were also made. The North and 
South Droves were then more than a quarter of a mile wide, with 
large drains on both sides of the droves. 

The accompanying illustration taken from Blaeu's map of the 
Regiones Inundatm, dated 1645, will show the condition of the fen at 
this time. 



319 






%6oAst. 




Cuiiit 
DEEPING FEN 

TB.OM 

RE G J(WE S INUNDATE. 

-RUAEW ~)64>5. 
/Scale' oF7/fxLta 

. i *,_ 3. *. 



In 1637 the fens were declared drained ; two years later, how- ,»,. 

ever the Commissioners of the Bedford Level, sitting at Wisbech, 
decreed that, although the lands in Deeping Fen were much improved, ' 6 * > ' 

yet that they were still subject to inundation in winter, and a tax of 
30/- an acre was ordered to be levied and to be expended in complet- 
ing the drainage. 

In a pamphlet written by Andrewes Burrell in 1642, it is stated a Burreii. 1642. 
that the Earl of Bedford had expended ^"23,000 in draining Deeping 
Fen. In commenting on the scheme recommended by Vermuiden 
for diverting the Glen and the Welland to the Nene, so that the 
three rivers should have one common outfall to the sea, Burrell 
says " the most considerable danger is the condition of the stuff 
whereof the banks of the new river must be made. In regard that 
the greatest part of the Level is a light moor, which hath no solidity 
in it ; for being dry, it is so spongy that it will both burn and swim, 



I ACT 

16 and 17 Chas. 



320 

and is so hollow that a bank.which is this year large and firm to the 
eye, in four or five years will shrink to less than half the proportions 
which it had at the first making." 
Dugdaie. Dugdale says that by the works above enumerated the land 

was so well drained that in summer the whole fen yielded great 
quantities of grass and hay, and would have been made winter 
ground in a short time, but that the country people, taking advant- 
age of the confusion throughout the whole kingdom, which ensued 
soon after the convention of the long Parliament, possessed 
themselves thereof ; so that the banks and sewers being neglected 
by the Adventurers, it became again overflowed. 

bhothehhousi In 1650 the Commissioners of the Bedford Level in carrying 

out the works for the drainage of that district, in order to 
protect the Xorth Level from the waters of the Welland, constructed 
a bank, extending from Peakirk to Crowland, and thence to Brother- 
house, where it unites with the Holland Bank. This bank was 
made 70ft. broad at the bottom and 8ft. high, and a road is main- 
tained on its top forming a communication between Peakirk and 
Spalding. 

FinsT deeping In the reign of Charles II, an Act of Parliament was passed, 

which, after reciting the above facts and repealing the grant made 
u. 1&4. to Lovell, enacted that the Earl of Manchester, the Earl of Devon- 
shire, Lord Barkley, Anchatill Gray and Henry Gray should be 
declared to be the Undertakers for draining the fen, then computed 
as containing 10,000 acres, in trust for such persons and intents as 
are mentioned in the Act. They were to accomplish the draining 
in seven years, so that they should be ' firm and depasturable for 
cattle at all times of the year,' except as to two or three hundred 
acres, or thereabouts, in the said fen called Deeping Fen and 
Goggushland and forty acres in Thurlby Fen and Bourne South 
Fen, which were to be left for ' lakes and sykes for the receipt of 
waters within the same.' They were for ever to maintain the works 
and the banks environing the fens and the bank on the east side of 
the Welland from Brotherhouse to Spalding High Bridge ; also the 
bank on the north side of the Glen from Gutherham Cote to Dove- 
hirne ; also to keep the rivers Glen and Welland maintained with 
sufficient diking, roding, scouring and banking ; the Welland from 
the Outgang at the east end of East Deeping unto the Outfall into 
the sea, and to preserve and maintain the navigation thereof free of 
toll ; they were to make and maintain all necessary bridges not 
exceeding 12ft. in width, over all drains whereby passage may be 
had into the fens. To prevent the banks being injured by cattle 
and horses, it was provided that no person should at any time between 
Michaelmas and the first of May drive any horses, cattle or sheep 
upon any of the banks without paying certain tolls, and owners of 
horse boats were not to land any horsemen or horses and cattle 



321 

upon the said banks, bat ween the same times, except at Waldram 
Hall, Baston, SpDute, Dovahirne, Cloote, or Crowland, without a 
license ; no swine were to be allowed to be put on the fens between 
the banks and the ditches, nor on any other part of the fens, without 
being ringed, under a penalty of twopence for each hog. Any inhabit- 
ants that might hereafter be upon any part of the third part allotted 
to the Trustees, or upon the Five Thousand Acres, and unable 
to maintain themselves, were to be provided for by the 
Adventurers and not allowed to be chargeable to any of the parishes ; 
no water was to be taken out of the Glen or Welland, or any of the 
drains, without leave of the Trustees. 

The Trustees were to have one-third of the fens, amounting to ■• taxable 
10,036 acres, this being afterwards known as ' the taxable lands,' 
and the Five Thousand Acres, originally allotted to Lovell, in recom- 
pence for the money already expended, and in consideration of the 
work to be done in ' inning and draining the said fen.' This area 
was afterwards known as ' the Free Lands.' The Trustees were " " EE "»"■' 
to enclose the lands granted to them. If the reclamation was not 
completed within the seven years, or if the Trustees afterwards 
failed to maintain the works, so that the fen was ' good and depastur- 
able ground for cattle at all times in the year,' the lands were to 
pass over to the Court of Sewers, who were to apply the rents in 
preserving the lands adjoining from being surrounded and drowned. 
The Trustees were to pay ^"ioo to the Court of Sewers, towards the 
repair and maintenance of the South Dozens and Hawthorne Banks. 
The Owners for the time being of a share of not less than 250 acres 
of the 10,036 acres were authorised to hold meetings for the better 
government and orderly management of the work of draining the 
fens. Three Adventurers were to have power to act under the 
Common Seal, and to make bye laws,and tax the Owners by an equal 
acre tax for the purpose of carrying on the work. In default of 
payment of the tax levied, the Adventurers were to have power 
to sell the land taxed. A Commission was appointed to determine 
the boundaries of the land to be inclosed. 

This AcT was amended five years later and the time for comple- 22 car. H, 1671. 
tion was extended for a further period of three years, as, owing to 
' the unseasonableness of the weather and other unavoidable 
accidents,' the works had not been completed. It was also enacted 
that the Adventurers should hold a public meeting annually at 
Spalding, on the Thursday next after the second Sunday in April, 
at which the acre tax was to be levied for payment on the 
10th of October following. In default of payment a penalty not 
exceeding a third part of the tax was to be imposed. If the tax and 
penalty were not paid before the April following, the Adventurers 
could make an order at the annual meeting for the sequestration 
and sale of so much of the land as would satisfy the tax and penalty. 



CAPT- PERRY- 

IT 29- 



CONOITION 



ii Geo. ii, 



322 

time tor annu«l The time for holding the annual meeting was altered by a subse- 

11 Geo. ii, c. 3 g, quent Act, by which two meetings were directed to be held on the 

1738. Thursdays next after Midsummer and Michaelmas days. The time 

for laying the rates was altered by an Act, passed in the reign of 

George III, by which theywere directed to be paid in two instalments, 

due respectively on the 22nd of May and the 1 ith of November. 

In consequence of the wet seasons and the imperfect condition 
of the drainage, many Owners of the taxable lands were unable to 
pay the rates, and, being in arrear, nearly half the lands were seques- 
trated by the Trustees under the powers of the Act of 1664. In 
1729 these lands were sold, for ^4,000, to Capt. Perry, an Engineer 
who had been engaged on embanking works on the Thames. The 
proceeds were to be laid out on works in the fen. 

The amending Act of 1738 recites that the lands granted to the 
Adventurers " had long since been fenced and inclosed, and were 
thefeiiiiiitis. drained and kept drained for some years, yet that notwithstanding 
all the endeavours that had been used to preserve and keep the said 
fens drained, the same have for several years last past been, and now 
are, so overflowed with waters, through the defects of their Outfalls 
to the sea and other causes, that little or no profit can be made of 
them to the great loss and damage of the Owners, as well of the 
said free lands as of taxable lands, and to the. impoverishment of the 
Commoners, having right of Common in the rest of the fens, being 
about 15,000 acres, and for which causes about 4,000 acres of the 
taxable lands had become forfeited for non-payment of the draining 
taxes charged thereon ; and may be sold by the said Adventurers, or 
any three of them, so qualified as aforesaid ; and that the said 
fens could never be made profitable, unless some new methods 
were taken to recover the same, which, according to a scheme 
and estimate made thereof by skilful and able engineers, would cost 
about £1 5,000 ; and that it had been enacted that the Court of Sewers 
could seize and appropriate all the rents of the Adventurers' lands 
unless they were kept properly drained." In order to prevent this 
loss an agreement had been come to with the Owners of the 5,000 
acres of free lands, by which they undertook to raise one-third of the 
^15,000 required, by an acre tax of 20/- ; ^"6,000 was to be found by 
a similar rate on the 6,ooo acres of taxable lands, and when this sum 
was expended, then the remaining 4,000 acres, which had become 
forfeited for non-payment of the drainage taxes, were to be sold 
by the Adventurers, or so much thereof as was necessary to make 
up the £ 1 5,000, and the money applied to the perfecting of the 
draining of the level and its future preservation. 

Bourne Fen and Thurlby Pastures, containing 336 acres, part 
r«oT»i«Bti»Y of the 'Free Lands,' were exempted from payment of this tax, on 
the ground that they had been embanked and kept drained at the 
. sole charge of the Owner, Sir John Heathcote. 



BOURNE FEN 
AND THU 

PA STUB 



yt 



O* 



^ 



<£\o>* 



M : 



y 



ta*» 



\&' 






A<# 







DEEPING FEN. 

0/eoile/. 



{J fe . f fl 



*< 



jS^ 



time ron ANNU 

MEETING. 

ii Geo, ii, c. 3 
1738. 



CAPT. PERRY 
1720. 



CONDITION O 
THE FEN IN ITS 

11 Geo. ii, c. 



BOURNE PEN 

AND THURIB' 

PASTURES. 



3 2 3 



Two large scoop wheels, worked by windmills, known then as 
' Dutch Engines ' were erected in 1741, at one end of the main drain, 
for lifting the water off the fen into the Vernatt's Drain. The wheels 
were 16ft. in diameter, with 13m. scoops. An Archimedean screw 
was at first worked by one of the larger mills, but was subsequently 
abandoned. 

The total length of the rivers and drains in this district is given 
on a map, published by Jos. Featherstone, in 1763, as gg£ miles ; 
and of the banks, 66f miles. On the same map are shown 50 
windmills for lifting the water into the main drains. 

In 1774, a third Act was passed for amending the previous 
Acts. The Preamble of this Act recites that such part of the River 
Welland as lies within the town of Spalding and between Haw- 
thorn bank and the Outfall, had become very much contracted and 
that unless the Adventurers were empowered to cleanse the river, 
the fens and low grounds could not be effectually drained and 
improved. 

They were authorised, and afterwards erected a sluice at the 
end of the Vernatt's Drain, 110ft. on the south side of the Outfall 
of the Glen, having a clear water-way of 30ft. ; and a new sluice 
near the existing Podehole Sluice, the water-way of which was to 
be 3ft. less than that of the sea sluice ; and to continue by a new 
cut the Vernatt's Drain, which then joined the Welland about i£ 
miles below Spalding, down to the intended Outfall sluice at the 
Reservoir, having a bottom width of 20ft. ; also to make and 
continue the drain called Langtoft Roft, 30ft. wide ; North Drove 
Dike, 20ft. wide ; Black Dike Roft, 30ft. ; South Drove Dike, 20ft. ; 
the 18ft. Drain, 40ft. wide ; the bottom of all these drains to be level 
with the floor of the Pode Hole Sluice. The powers given by the 
Act of Charles, to the Commissioners of Sewers, to shut down the 
Sluice at Pode Hole, and to stop the Vernatt's Drain for two months 
in every year, in order to drain the lands in Pinchbeck and Spalding, 
were to cease when the new works were completed, and they were 
not to be allowed to stop the sluice for more than 28 days in a year, 
nor for more than three days together, within the space of 14 days. 
The powers of the Court of Sewers relating to the Vernatt's Drain 
and the sluices at Pode Hole were repealed by the Welland Act of 
1794 and also by the Deeping Fen Act of 1801. The Commissioners 
were also authorised to rebuild Surfleet Bridge, over the Glen, and 
also to enlarge Cross Gate Bridge to a width of 30ft. Gravel Drain 
was to be scoured to Swine's Meadow and a dam made at the south 
end, to convey the water into the Counter Wash ; the south bank 
of the Counter Drain was to bs repaired and enlarged and widened, 
and the drain from the end of Gravel Drain to Pode Hole, to be 
deepened for the purpose of conveying the upland waters along 
Vernatt's Drain to the sea. 



ERECTION OP 

8COOP WHEELS. 

IT41. 



WIND ENGINES. 

Fig. 14. 

Featherstoae's 
Map. 1763. 

ACT OF 1774. 

14 Geo. iii, c. 23. 



VENNATT'S AND 

PODEHOLE 

SLUICE. 



PODEHOLE 
SLUICE. 



WELLAND ACT, 



3M 

Any Owners who had tunnels through Deeping Bank, Barston 
Bank, the Counter Bank, and Gravel Drain Bank, were, before the 
30th of September in every year, to stop up the same ' with dove-tail 
or other piles ' and keep them stopped] till the first of the following 
May. 

In 1794, an Act was passed for improving the Welland and for 
34Geo.iii.c102, t ij e better drainage of the fen-land, through the same. By this Act 
the management of the river was entrusted to a Commission, 
consisting of the Owners of land paying taxes, and Representatives of 
Spalding, Boston, and Stamford. A new cut was to be made for 
the Welland from the Reservoir to Wyberton Roads and the tide 
excluded by a sluice with a navigable lock. The details of this Act 
will be found more fully described in the chapter on the Welland. 
It marks the time when the Welland was placed under a separate 
Commission. The contemplated works were only partially carried 
out, the new Cut terminating at Fossdyke Bridge and the construction 
VC R "»"T s of the sluices being abandoned. There was a clause in the Act for 
compelling the Adventurers of Deeping Fen to improve the Vernatt's 
Drain and providing that when it was enlarged it should be 
supported by the Adventurers, as also the South Dozens Bank ; and 
that the powers given to the Court of Sewers, under the Act of 
14 Geo. iii, as to closing the sluice doors for 28 days, and their 
jurisdiction over the Pode Hole Sluice and Vernatt's Drain should 
cease. This matter was also subsequently dealt with in the Deeping 
Fen Act. 

Stone, in his review of the survey of the Agriculture of Lincoln- 
shire, remarks, with respect to the condition of Deeping Fen, at 
this time: " The drainage of Deeping Fen is chiefly effected by 
three wind engines, above Spalding, that lift the Deeping Fen water 
into the Welland, the bed of which is higher than the land to be 
drained, assisted by a side cut called the West Load, which falls 
into the Welland just below Spalding, and which district, in violent 
floods, in a calm when the engines cannot work, is reduced to a 
s«mfy° 0/ s l in- most deplorable condition, more especially when the banks of the 
Welland give way, or overflow, as happened in 1798." 

Arthur Young, in his survey of Lincolnshire, which was pub- 
Survey of "Lin- li s hed at the end of the last century, speaking of Deeping Fen, says : 
" Twenty years ago the land sold for about three pounds an acre ; 
some was then let at seven and eight shillings an acre ; and a great 
deal was in such a state that nobody would rent it . Now it is in general 
worth twenty shillings an acre, and sells at twenty pounds. Ten 
thousand acres of it are taxable under Commissioners, and pay up to 
twenty shillings, but as low as two shillings ; the average is about 
four shillings, including poor rate, and all tithes free." 

At the beginning of the present century a joint report was 
obtained from Messrs. W. Jessop, J. Rennie, G. Maxwell and E. 



CONDITION OF 
THE FEN IN IT9B. 



colnshire. 
A. Young's 



325 
Hare, as to the means to be adopted to improve the drainage of these ""°" T or 

r r ° JESSOP. RENNIC. 

fens. This report was submitted to a Meeting of the Proprietors of »«>*>" h.re. 
lands in the fen, held at Spalding, on the 26th September, 1800. 
They recommended that the Cut, authorised by the Welland Act, 
from Shepherd's Hole through the Salt Marshes of Surfleet and 
Algarkirk, as far as Fossdyke, should be proceeded with. The other 
works recommended were mainly those which were afterwards 
carried out by the General Commissioners appointed under the Act 
of 1 801. 

They further recommended that a New Drain should be made 
to relieve the Glen from Bast on to Pinchbeck Bars ; and that proper 
engines should be erected at Pode Hole to lift the water into the 
Vematt's. A supplemental report was appended, signed by W. 
Jessop and John Rennie, stating that they considered the erection of 
engines at Pode Hole as absolutely necessary for relieving the internal 
main drains, and advised the use of steam for this purpose, on the 
ground that although wind engines could be made of better con- 
struction than those hitherto in use, yet in calm weather such 
engines were frequently useless when most needed. 

In 1801, application was made to Parliament, and an Act ...closure of 
obtained, for draining, dividing and allotting the tract of land now ""^"iii"' 
generally known as Deeping Fen, the whole of which, with the "8, 1801! 
exception of the Adventurers' lands, was Common. The following 
is the area of land dealt with by the Act. 

Market Deeping Common, Deeping St. James acres. « nt « or 
Common, Langtoft Common, Baston Common, inclosed l.no, 

Cowbit Common and Heath, Spalding Common, 
Pinchbeck South Fen ... ... ... 13,500 

Pinchbeck North Fen ... ... ... ... 3,500 

Droves and Waste Lands ... ... ... 800 

Crowland Common, otherwise Goggushland, Com- 
monable by occupants in Crowland only ... 1,200 

Deeping Fen taxable and free lands under the 
control of the Adventurers. (The powers of the 
Commissioners only extended to the draining and 
not the allotting of this land). Fen lands in 
Bourne and Thurlby on the north of the Glen, 
and inclosed lands in Spalding and Pinchbeck 
lying between the Glen and the Welland ... 15,000 



34,000 
George Maxwell of Fletton, Edward Hare of Castor, John 
Cragg of Threekingham and William Golding of Donington were 
appointed General Commissioners for executing the works of Drain- 
age, and for dividing and allotting the Commons into Parochial or 
other parts and shares. The separate share of each parish was first 
to be determined. TheCommissioners were to be allowed two-and- 
a-half guineas a day each for their services and travelling expenses. 



THE ALLOTMENT. 



326 

The Commissioners were directed by the A<51, before making 
any Allotment, to set out 120ft. of land next the banks of the rivers, 
for the purpose of selling such land to the Adventurers. They were 
to set out such carriage roads as they deemed necessary, of the 
width of 40ft. ; and it was forbidden to erect any trees near the 
fences of these roads, at a less distance than 50 yards apart. The 
boundary between HoDand and Kesteven along the North and 
South Droves, which had long been a subject of dispute, was to 
be settled by the Commissioners, and their decision was to be final 
and binding. As the rate to be levied on Crowland Common and 
the Washes and other lands under the Welland Act of 1794, had 
not been raised and paid, the Commissioners were to sell so much 
of the Common land as would raise a sum sufficient to pay the 
arrears of the tax, and hand the proceeds over to the Welland 
Commissioners. They were also directed to sell so much of 
Pinchbeck North Fen and other lands, as would raise a sum 
sufficient to discharge all taxes due to the Black Sluice Commis- 
sioners in respect of the North Fen. Sufficient of the Common 
land was also to be sold to defray the expenses of the Drainage 
Works, and of dividing and allotting the Commons. 
,„ wollK s. As soon as the Welland Commissioners had completed the new 

Cut for the Welland to Fossdyke, the Adventurers were at their 
own cost to enlarge and deepen the Vernatt's Drain, from Shotbolt's 
Bridge to Pode Hole, so as to give it a 30ft. bottom, and to erect 
carriage bridges over the drain, having a clear water-way of 30ft, 
and other bridges in place of those then existing, with clear water- 
ways of 30ft. ; also to widen and deepen Blue Gowt Drain, from its 
outfall in the Glen to its termination near the Turnpike Road, and 
continue it by a new drain to the Dozens Bank, having a 10ft. 
bottom at the lower end and 6ft. at the upper ; also to erect a sluice 
of 14ft. water-way at its junction with the Glen ; they were also to 
make a new drain, branching from the Blue Gowt Drain to the 
Vernatt's Drain, and so much further on the south side as might 
be found expedient, with a culvert under the Vernatt's, 3ft. in 
diameter, for the purpose of draining the lands in Spalding and 
Pinchbeck, lying between the Westlode Drain and the Glen, so as to 
discharge their water into the Glen. 

The Proprietors of this District were also empowered, when the 
height of the water in the Vernatt's Drain prevented the water 
running into the Blue Gowt Drain, or from being discharged into the 
Glen, to erect an engine for discharging the water into the Glen. 
This part of the Act was repealed by the Act 41 George III, when a 
separate Act was obtained for the Blue Gowt District, an account 
of which will be found in Chapter IV. 

The Adventurers were also to deepen the Welland from Spalding 
Lock upwards and to strengthen the north bank of the river. After 



VERNATT'S AND 
PODE HOLE 
SLUICES. 



DRAINAGE 



NEW ORAIfs 



3^7 

the Adventurers had completed these works, they were to be main- 
tained by the Dykereeves of Spalding and Pinchbeck, except 
Vernatt's Drain ; and the right of shutting down the doors at Pode 
Hole for twenty eight days was to cease. Vernatt's Drain and Pode- 
hole Sluice were to vest in the Adventurers. In the event of a breach 
in the banks of the Glen or Welland, the Commissioners of Sewers 
were to have the power to shut the sluice doors at Pode Hole and 
keep them shut ' until the breach or gool shall be stopped and 
made secure.' If, at the end of two years, it appeared to the Com- 
missioners that the mills and engines erected by the Adventurers engines 
would be found useful for drainage, they were to pay the Adventurers 
for them ; but if it was found that they were not wanted, the 
Adventurers were to be allowed to take them down and sell the 
materials. 

The following works were to be carried out by the Commis- 
sioners. A main drain, commencing at Pode Hole and extending to 
the Rampart Drain, and proceeding along that drain to the east 
end of the Commons at South Drove, and along this drove to its 
west end, and continuing thence to the Cross Drain, with a branch 
communicating with Crowland Common at its north end. This Fi s- "■ 
main drain was to be 24ft. at the bottom at the lower end. A 
main drain commencing at Pode Hole and continuing along the 
1 8ft. Drain to the west end of the North Drove, and joining 
the Cross Drain. The width of the bottom at the lower end to be 
24ft. A new drain across the Commons, having an 18ft. bottom, 
commencing at the north bank of the Welland, and extending to 
the south bank of the Counter Drain. The Counter Drain to be 
enlarged from Pode Hole to the Tunnel under the Glen from Thurlby 
Pastures ; as also Hill's Drain for the use of the land in Deeping Fen. 
Bridges were to be erected over these drains as might be fou